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12:50 PM ET, December 12, 2017


 Top Items: 
Mike Allen / Axios:
Trump lawyers want second special counsel appointed now  —  President Trump's legal team believes Attorney General Jeff Session's Justice Department and the FBI — more than special counsel Robert Mueller himself — are to blame for what they see as a witch hunt.
The Guardian:
Robert Mueller is closing in on Trump.  Congress must protect his investigation  —  Mueller is coming.  —  The investigation into Trump campaign coordination with Russia appears to be closing in on the president.  The three indictments earlier this month of Trump campaign chairman …
Michael Tomasky / The Daily Beast:
Will the Senate Still Protect Robert Mueller From Donald Trump's Ax? … Remember the first round of gossip about whether President Trump would fire special prosecutor Robert Mueller, back during the summer?  Republican senators were quick to say what a grave error this would be.
Discussion: CNN, Hullabaloo, Salon and Washington Post
Philip Rucker / Washington Post:
Inside Trump's legal team: Trying to protect the president from Mueller's ‘killers’
Discussion: Roll Call
Josh Gerstein / Politico:   Justice Department won't disclose details on Mueller ethics waiver
Peter Holley / Washington Post:
‘Brothers in arms’: The long friendship between Mueller and Comey
Discussion: RedState
Judd Legum / ThinkProgress:
Speaker at Moore event says he accidentally went with Moore to a brothel with child prostitutes  —  Roy Moore, who is running for U.S. Senate in Tuesday's special election, is facing multiple allegations of child sex abuse.  He has largely avoided the campaign trail since these allegations first surfaced.
Olivia Nuzzi / New York Magazine:
Roy Moore Emerges From Hiding for Election Eve Rally, and Good Lord, Was It Weird  —  Have you ever traveled down a dirt path in rural southeast Alabama in December and arrived at a barn in the woods to find Steve Bannon, Representative Louie Gohmert, Sheriff David Clarke, Roy and Kayla Moore …
Margaret Hartmann / New York Magazine:
Roy Moore's Wife: We're Not Anti-Semitic, ‘One of Our Attorneys Is a Jew’
Andy Metzger / WBUR:
Baker Backing Democrat Jones In Alabama Senate Race  —  Gov. Charlie Baker supports the Democrat running for U.S. Senate in Alabama against Roy Moore, the controversial Republican who has been dogged by multiple accounts that he made sexual advances towards teenage women well into his adult years.
Evan Siegel / The Daily Beast:
Who Won the Alabama Special Election? Watch the Live Results Here
Discussion: Politico and ABC News
NFL Harassment Suit Alleges Groping by Top Executive, Ex-Players  —  Former employee says ex-producer sent several nude photos  —  NFL Network says employees suspended pending investigation  —  A former executive producer at the National Football League's TV network and ex-players including Marshall Faulk …
Emma Baccellieri / Deadspin:
NFL Network Suspends Marshall Faulk, Ike Taylor, Heath Evans After Sexual Harassment Lawsuit  —  NFL Network has suspended Marshall Faulk, Ike Taylor and Heath Evans while investigating claims of sexual harassment from a lawsuit filed by one of their former colleagues.
Discussion: ProFootballTalk
Alan Feuer / New York Times:
Suspect in Times Square Bombing Leaves Trail of Mystery  —  On the surface, Akayed Ullah seemed to be an ordinary member of a Bangladeshi enclave in Brooklyn.  He often prayed at a mosque in an unassuming brownstone in the Kensington section of the borough, where a few thousand of his countrymen reside.
Aaron Katersky / ABC News:
NYC bombing suspect wrote on Facebook before his alleged attack, ‘Trump you failed to protect your nation’: Complaint
Discussion: The Daily Caller, IJR and Mediaite
San Francisco Chronicle:
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee dead at 65  —  San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee died early Tuesday morning at age 65, his office said.  —  The sudden news came in an email from the office at 2:23 a.m. It read: “It is with profound sadness and terrible grief that we confirm that Mayor Edwin M. Lee passed away …
New York Times:   Ed Lee, San Francisco Mayor, Dies at 65
Judd Legum / ThinkProgress:
This is the list of ‘eyewitnesses’ the White House says exonerate Trump  —  On Monday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders promised that she would produce a list of eyewitnesses to exonerate President Trump from allegations of sexual harassment and assault.
Sheryl Gay Stolberg / New York Times:
Tawdry Tales Depict a Texas Congressman's Frat House on the Hill  —  WASHINGTON — When Lauren Greene, a former communications director for Representative Blake Farenthold, sued him claiming sexual harassment, among her complaints was that he “disclosed that a female lobbyist had propositioned him for ‘a threesome.’”
Abby Livingston / The Texas Tribune:
Amid sexual harassment controversy, U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold faces tough re-election
Discussion: Roll Call, Off the Kuff and The Week
Shane Savitsky / Axios:
Trump and Gillibrand face off on Twitter  —  New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand called on President Trump to “ immediately resign ” yesterday, prompting a disparaging Twitter response from POTUS this morning:  —  Lightweight Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a total flunky for Chuck Schumer and someone …
Nolan D. McCaskill / Politico:   Sixth senator says Trump should resign
Leonard Greene / New York Daily News:
Why Melania, Ivanka and Jared's mayoral election votes didn't count  —  Good thing last month's mayoral election wasn't close because if New Yorkers needed the Trump family to decide the outcome, they would have been out of luck.  —  President Trump and his family of New Yorkers …
Discussion: Splinter
New York Times:
Ken Friedman, Power Restaurateur, Is Accused of Sexual Harassment  —  Natalie Saibel, a longtime server at the Spotted Pig, a West Village restaurant with celebrity investors, didn't quit in 2015 after the owner, Ken Friedman, ran his hands over her buttocks and then her groin in a room crowded …
Nate Silver / FiveThirtyEight:
What The Hell Is Happening With These Alabama Polls?  —  Somebody's going to be wrong in Alabama.  —  We've already urged caution when interpreting polls of Alabama's special election to the U.S. Senate, which will be held on Tuesday.  Some of that is because of the media's usual tendency …
Nate Cohn / New York Times:
Why No One Knows What Will Happen in Alabama
Discussion: Vox and The Week
Joseph Bernstein / BuzzFeed:
Inside Steve Bannon's #War Against Twitter  —  For more than a year before he became Donald Trump's campaign manager, Steve Bannon sought to wage war against Twitter, tasking Milo Yiannopoulos and other Breitbart News employees to look into editorial, financial, and legal ways they could harm the Jack Dorsey-led social network.
Zephyr Teachout / New York Times:
I'm Not Convinced Franken Should Quit  —  I care passionately about #MeToo.  Women are routinely demeaned, dismissed, discouraged and assaulted.  Too many women's careers are stymied or ended because of harassment and abuse.  In politics, where I have worked much of my adult life, this behavior is rampant.
Connor Sheets /
State Supreme Court stays order directing Alabama not to destroy voting records  —  Update - 9:05 a.m. Dec. 12, 2017: Late Monday night, the Alabama Supreme Court stayed the Montgomery County Circuit Court's order earlier that day directing Alabama election officials to preserve digital ballot images during Tuesday's Senate election.
Discussion: Daily Kos
Philip Bump / Washington Post:
A running list of the eyewitnesses who prove Trump's innocence on sexual misconduct  —  President Trump is frustrated.  He sees the 2016 election as having vindicated him on any number of things: his often-acidic politics, his disparagement of traditional campaign tactics …
Michelle Fox / CNBC:
People are taking out mortgages to buy bitcoin, says securities regulator  — Bitcoin is in the “mania” phase, with some people even borrowing money to get in on the action, regulator Joseph Borg said.  — “We've seen mortgages being taken out to buy bitcoin. ...  People do credit cards, equity lines,” he said.
Discussion: Balloon Juice
Timothy Cama / The Hill:
Emails: Disney annoyed by Obama push to use ‘Frozen’ brand  —  Emails unearthed by The Hill show Disney's leadership was frustrated and annoyed by an Obama administration official's public statements suggesting it was considering using characters in the popular film “Frozen” to teach children about climate change.
Discussion: The Daily Caller
Spencer Ackerman / The Daily Beast:
Exclusive: Rex Tillerson, In Meeting With U.S. Diplomats, Says Russia ‘Interfered’ in Election … Beleaguered Secretary of State Rex Tillerson acknowledged in a closed-door meeting with U.S. diplomats on Tuesday that Russia “interfered in democratic processes here,” something President Trump still describes …
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 More Items: 
Anna Fifield / Washington Post:
North Korea's prisons are as bad as Nazi camps, says judge who survived Auschwitz
Discussion: The Daily Caller and The Week
New York Times:
A Nasty, Nafta-Related Surprise: Mexico's Soaring Obesity
Discussion: Cafe Hayek and Axios
Washington Post:
Congress could finalize deal to reconcile House and Senate tax bills as soon as today, top Republican says
Kennebec Journal & Morning Sentinel:
Our View: Collins should drop support for tax bill
Susan Cornwell / Reuters:
U.S. House Democratic women seek probe of Trump misconduct accusations
Discussion: ThinkProgress and NBC News
J.K. Trotter / Washington Post:
If you miss Gawker, don't let Peter Thiel buy its archives
 Earlier Items: 
How a Democrat could win in Alabama, in charts
Angie Drobnic Holan / PolitiFact:
2017 Lie of the Year: Russian election interference is a ‘made-up story’
James Freeman / Wall Street Journal:
Is CNN Protecting Adam Schiff?
Discussion: Erick on the Radio
Jimmy Kimmel Returns with Baby Billy After Heart Surgery
Piers Morgan / Daily Mail:
It's true, we've NEVER had a president like Trump …
Discussion: Washington Times
The Guardian:
Macron awards US scientists grants to move to France in defiance of Trump
Discussion: The Week, Politico and Axios