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1:20 AM ET, December 15, 2017


 Top Items: 
Del Quentin Wilber / Wall Street Journal:
FBI Agent Removed From Russia Probe Held Dim Views of Holder, Sanders  —  Texts between agent and FBI lawyer reveal harsh words for several prominent figures  —  Two FBI employees who used to work for Special Counsel Robert Mueller have already been criticized by Republicans for texts they shared insulting President Donald Trump.
Matt Vespa /
So, What's This ‘Insurance Policy’ Against Trump That These FBI Agents Discussed In Text Messages?  —  Editor's Note: Strzok was removed by Mueller in August, not July.  Post has been corrected and updated.  —  Piggybacking off of Katie and Cortney on these texts between FBI agents Peter Strzok and Lisa Page.
Benjamin Wittes / Lawfare:
Thoughts on Rod Rosenstein's Testimony  —  I have not watched all of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein's testimony before the House Judiciary Committee yesterday.  But I watched three hours of it, and that was quite enough to convey the disturbing and dangerous nature of the current moment.
Darren Samuelsohn / Politico:
Democrats want to know why Justice Department released FBI texts
Discussion: Business Insider
Del Quentin Wilber / Wall Street Journal:
Full Texts: FBI Employees' Messages Bashed Trump, Sanders, Congress
Discussion: Mother Jones
Rachael Bade / Politico:
Paul Ryan Sees His Wild Washington Journey Coming to An End  —  Spirits were high inside the House chamber on Thursday, November 16, when, in the early afternoon, the gavel fell and a measure to rewrite the American tax code passed on a partisan tally of 227 to 205.
A.G. Schneiderman: I Will Sue To Stop Illegal Rollback Of Net Neutrality  —  News from Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman  —  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  —  Attorney General's Press Office / 212-416-8060  — … Today, New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman released …
Brian Fung / Washington Post:
The FCC just voted to repeal its net neutrality rules, in a sweeping act of deregulation  —  Federal regulators voted Thursday to allow Internet providers to speed up service for some apps and websites — and block or slow down others — in a decision repealing landmark …
Daniel Holloway / Variety:
Dustin Hoffman Accused of Exposing Himself to a Minor, Assaulting Two Women (EXCLUSIVE)  —  Cori Thomas was in high school when she says Dustin Hoffman exposed himself to her in a hotel room.  Melissa Kester was a recent college graduate when Hoffman allegedly sexually assaulted her while recording audio for the film “Ishtar.”
Rebecca Ballhaus / Wall Street Journal:
Mueller Sought Emails of Trump Campaign Data Firm  —  Special counsel asked Cambridge Analytica to hand over employees' emails, in sign of investigators' interest in campaign data operation  —  Special Counsel Robert Mueller has requested that Cambridge Analytica, a data firm that worked …
Discussion: The Week and Politicus USA
Natasha Bertrand / Business Insider:
Democrats want to know more about a strange omission from the Trump campaign's digital director about his foreign contacts  — The ranking members of the House Oversight and Judiciary committees want to subpoena two of the data firms hired by President Donald Trump's campaign team …
Discussion: Raw Story
Uri Friedman / The Atlantic:
Lindsey Graham: There's a 30 Percent Chance Trump Attacks North Korea  —  It's become a grim ritual in Washington foreign-policy circles to assess the chances that the United States and North Korea stumble into war.  But on Wednesday Lindsey Graham did something different …
CNN:   UN official who visited Pyongyang sees ‘high risk’ of miscalculation
Washington Post:   Trump allies say Tillerson has ‘not learned his lesson’ and cannot continue in job for long
Associated Press:
Trump thanks Putin for remarks on strong US economy
Discussion: Politico, Axios and ABC News
Jenn Abelson /
At ESPN, the problems for women run deep  —  When ESPN canceled its new program with Barstool Sports this fall after just one episode, the network tried to distance itself from the men's blog that has stoked criticism for everything from calling Rihanna fat to saying girls wearing skinny jeans deserve to be raped.
Discussion: IJR, TheBlaze, Mediaite, Deadspin and TVNewser
Tyler Lauletta / Business Insider:
Boston Globe report alleges ESPN has a culture of sexism and sexual misconduct against women
Discussion: The Daily Caller
Natasha Bertrand / Business Insider:
Former high-level officials submit ‘unusual’ Russia brief in lawsuit against Trump and Roger Stone  — Fourteen former national security, intelligence, and foreign policy officials recently wrote an amicus brief as part of a lawsuit brought against President Donald Trump's campaign and Roger Stone, his longtime adviser.
Discussion: AOL and Raw Story
Rosalind S. Helderman / Washington Post:
Music promoter dangled possible Putin meeting for Trump during campaign
Discussion: CNBC
Washington Post:
Doubting the intelligence, Trump pursues Putin and leaves a Russian threat unchecked
Jana Winter / Foreign Policy:
Head of Congressional Ethics Office Sued for Abusing Position, Accused of Assaulting Women  —  A key official involved in House investigations faces a federal lawsuit alleging misconduct.  —  A top congressional ethics official who oversees investigations into misconduct by lawmakers …
Oli Coleman / Page Six:
Kelly Cutrone: Russell Simmons tried to rape me  —  Furious about Russell Simmons denying rape allegations against him, Kelly Cutrone has come forward to say that Simmons attempted to rape her in 1991.  —  Cutrone, who founded fashion PR powerhouse People's Revolution and has starred in MTV's …
Discussion: WIVB-TV, CBS New York and The Root
Russell Simmons Takes Polygraph After Assault Allegations
Discussion: Los Angeles Times and The Root
Joe Pompeo / Vanity Fair:
“We Know the Difference Between a Glenn and a Matt Lauer”: Inside The New York Times, the Glenn Thrush Scandal Is a Sex-Reckoning Test Case  —  Some three dozen detailed interviews will determine whether the star White House correspondent will keep his job—but chances are he won't be going back to cover the West Wing.
Homeland Security senior adviser promoted birtherism, said Obama knew ‘nothing about the black American experience’  —  STORY HIGHLIGHTS  —  (CNN)A White House senior adviser at the Department of Homeland Security previously promoted conspiracy theories about former President Barack Obama's birthplace …
Discussion: Splinter
Washington Post:
Rubio a ‘no’ on GOP tax bill unless tax credit for working poor is expanded  —  Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) informed Senate leaders he intends to vote against the Republicans' $1.5 trillion tax plan unless it includes a larger expansion of a child tax credit, according to a Senate GOP source.
Veronica Stracqualursi / ABC News:
Outgoing adviser Omarosa Manigault Newman: ‘Lack of diversity’ at WH left her lonely, but Trump ‘not a racist’  —  Two days after submitting her resignation as a senior adviser to President Donald Trump, Omarosa Manigault Newman acknowledged a “lack of diversity” in the White House that she said often left her feeling alone.
Julia Manchester / The Hill:
Omarosa: I saw things in Trump White House ‘I was very uncomfortable with’
David French / National Review:
What if America Won a War and No One Cared?  —  The momentous news of ISIS's defeat was greeted, in large part, with silence.  Why?  —  The announcement came on Saturday.  Just three days before the Alabama special election that transfixed the nation, and on the same day that President Trump fact-checked …
Washington Post:
GOP considers letting tax cuts for families expire sooner  —  Congressional Republicans are looking at shortening the duration of tax cuts that their plan would give to families and individuals, a leading lawmaker said Thursday.  —  That change would free up more revenue for additional changes …
Brandon Carter / The Hill:
‘The Simpsons’ depicts Trump trying to bribe Mueller … “The Simpsons” released a new video Thursday mocking President Trump  —  that depicts him attempting to bribe special counsel Robert Mueller into not charging him for a crime.  —  The video, posted to the show's Twitter account, begins with Attorney General Jeff Sessions
Discussion: RedState and Mediaite
Fox News:
Comey edits revealed: Remarks on Clinton probe were watered down, documents show  —  Newly released documents obtained by Fox News reveal that then-FBI Director James Comey's draft statement on the Hillary Clinton email probe was edited numerous times before his public announcement …
Brent Scher / Washington Free Beacon:
Tom Carper Admitted to Hitting His Wife in 1998 Interview  —  Carper said allegation was ‘without basis in fact’ during first campaign for Congress  —  Delaware senator Tom Carper admitted to slapping his wife in a 1998 interview with a veteran political journalist in the state …
Brittney McNamara / Teen Vogue:
Joe Biden to Anita Hill: “I Owe Her an Apology”  —  Since film magnate Harvey Weinstein was accused of sexual harassment and assault in October, scores of women have come forward as part of the #MeToo movement to say that they too have been a victim of sexual misconduct.
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 More Items: 
Samsung Targets First Half of 2018 for Smart Speaker
Ewen MacAskill / The Guardian:
Russia could cut off internet to Nato countries, British military chief warns
Jennifer Jacobs / Bloomberg:
Trump to Visit FBI Academy After Saying Agency ‘In Tatters’
Discussion: NBC News
Cristiano Lima / Politico:
Murdoch: Sexual harassment allegations against Fox News ‘largely political’
Discussion: Sky News, Axios and Business Insider
Lauren McGaughy / Dallas Morning News:
Top aide to Texas AG Ken Paxton resigns after calling women of #MeToo movement ‘pathetic’
Discussion: New York Times, Raw Story and KXAN-TV
Associated Press:
White House aims to sway opinion on immigration overhaul
Discussion: Axios
George Dvorsky / Gizmodo:
Preliminary Scan Suggests This Interstellar Visitor Is Not an Alien Spaceship
Discussion: The Atlantic
 Earlier Items: 
Lydia Wheeler / The Hill:
NLRB overrules joint-employer decision on labor violations
New York Times:
A Sheriff, a Mystery Check and a Blogger Who Cried Foul
Amy Walter / The Cook Political Report:
The Kubler Ross Politics of 2017
Nate Cohn / New York Times:
Once Unthinkable, Now Possible: Senate Looks Like a Tossup in 2018