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2:40 AM ET, December 16, 2017


 Top Items: 
Washington Post:
CDC gets list of forbidden words: fetus, transgender, diversity … The Trump administration is prohibiting officials at the nation's top public health agency from using a list of seven words or phrases — including “fetus” and “transgender” — in any official documents being prepared for next year's budget.
Trump lawyers set for key meeting with special counsel next week  —  STORY HIGHLIGHTS  —  (CNN)President Donald Trump's private lawyers are slated to meet with special counsel Robert Mueller and members of his team as soon as next week for what the President's team considers an opportunity …
Jenny Strasburg / Wall Street Journal:
Deutsche Bank Was Asked for Information on Transactions Potentially Linked to Michael Flynn  —  Request was part of U.S. special counsel investigation  —  Deutsche Bank AG has been asked by U.S. government authorities to hand over information about transactions that could be linked …
Discussion: Arizona Republic, CNBC and RedState
John Nichols / The Nation:
If Trump Fires Mueller, We Must Impeach  —  The country will find itself in a constitutional crisis, where the executive branch rejects checks and balances and the rule of law.  —  Walter Shaub, the former director of the US Office of Government Ethics who now serves as a senior director focusing …
Discussion: Common Dreams
New York Times:
Executive at Consultancy Hired by E.P.A. Scrutinized Agency Employees Critical of Trump  —  Jump to:  —  Front Page |  International |  National |  Obituaries |  Editorials, Op-Ed and Letters |  New York |  Business  —  Day |  Sports Saturday |  The Arts |  Corrections |  —  OBITUARIES
McClatchy Washington Bureau:
Kansas Dem Andrea Ramsey, accused of sexual harassment, will drop out of US House race  —  McClatchy Washington Bureau and The Kansas City Star  —  WASHINGTON  —  Andrea Ramsey, a Democratic candidate for Congress, will drop out of the race after the Kansas City Star asked her about accusations …
Rebecca Spalding / Bloomberg:
Puerto Rico to Lose Tax Advantages Under GOP Plan, Expert Says  —  Plan likely signals sweeping changes to the island's economy  —  'It's so complicated, it's not even funny,' expert says  —  The final version of the Republican tax plan would end some of the tax advantages companies …
Ed Pilkington / The Guardian:   A journey through a land of extreme poverty: welcome to America
Eric Boehlert / Shareblue Media:
Trump hosted the NRA at the White House on the anniversary of Sandy Hook massacre  —  Trump thumbs his nose at the victims of the Connecticut school killing spree and enjoys quiet time at the White House with NRA gun boss.  —  Not only did Donald Trump not tweet out messages of condolences …
Discussion: Daily Kos, NBC News and Common Dreams
Josh Dawsey / Washington Post:
Kushner's legal team looks to hire crisis public relations firm  —  Senior White House official Jared Kushner and his legal team are searching for a crisis public relations firm, according to four people familiar with the matter.  —  Kushner's lawyer, Abbe Lowell, has quietly called at least two firms, these people said.
Hard Questions: Is Spending Time on Social Media Bad for Us?  —  By David Ginsberg, Director of Research, and Moira Burke, Research Scientist at Facebook  —  With people spending more time on social media, many rightly wonder whether that time is good for us.  Do people connect in meaningful ways online?
Black conservatives reel after Omarosa resigns  —  WASHINGTON — When the White House senior staff convened Friday for a regular briefing, there was not one black person among the roughly 30 people gathered, and few minorities overall.  —  The departure Wednesday of Omarosa Manigault …
Matt Zapotosky / Washington Post:
Nine more women say judge subjected them to inappropriate behavior, including four who say he touched or kissed them  —  Nine more women say that Alex Kozinski — a high-profile judge who sits on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit — subjected them to sexual comments or other conduct …
Discussion: Axios, NPR, KTLA and Above the Law
Carolina Panthers:
Panthers' statement on internal investigation  —  The Carolina Panthers today announced it has commenced an internal investigation into allegations of workplace misconduct against the team's owner and founder, Jerry Richardson.  The investigation is being led by the outside international law …
GOP releases its final tax plan — here's what's in it  — Republicans release their final tax plan, which strikes compromises on many provisions that differed in separate versions passed by the House and Senate.  —  Republicans on Friday released their final proposal to overhaul the American tax system …
The Hill:
Exclusive: Prominent lawyer sought donor cash for two Trump accusers  —  A well-known women's rights lawyer sought to arrange compensation from donors and tabloid media outlets for women who made or considered making sexual misconduct allegations against Donald Trump
Yashar Ali / HuffPost:
Fox News Women Furious Over Rupert Murdoch Comments On Sexual Misconduct  —  The media mogul said claims of rampant sexual harassment at the network are “nonsense.”  —  Current and former female Fox News employees say they are stunned, disgusted and “hungry for justice” …
A. N. Devers / Longreads:
This is How a Woman is Erased From Her Job  —  This is a story about a woman who was erased from her job as the editor of the most famous literary magazine in America.  —  In 2011, the New York Times ran Julie Bosman's energetic and gregarious profile of Lorin Stein, the latest head editor …
Ema O'Connor / BuzzFeed:
A Federal Judge Just Blocked The Trump Administration's Contraception Coverage Rules  —  A judge in Pennsylvania put a temporary, nationwide block on Trump's rules creating exceptions for no-cost contraception coverage, saying that they could potentially cause women “enormous and irreversible” harm.
Discussion: Refinery29 and Axios
Fox News:
Mattis shoots down report Trump chills Russia talk  —  Pentagon Secretary James Mattis didn't borrow his boss's favorite phrase to refute a Washington Post report that President Trump doesn't want to hear about Russia from his intel chiefs, but he might as well have called it fake news.
Molly Redden / The Guardian:
Peter Jackson: I blacklisted Ashley Judd and Mira Sorvino under pressure from Weinstein … Film director Peter Jackson has admitted to blacklisting actors Ashley Judd and Mira Sorvino in response to a “smear campaign” orchestrated by accused sexual predator Harvey Weinstein.
Ruth May / Dallas Morning News:
How Putin's proxies helped funnel millions into GOP campaigns  —  As Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team probes deeper into potential collusion between Trump officials and representatives of the Russian government, investigators are taking a closer look at political contributions made by U.S. citizens with close ties to Russia.
Discussion: Raw Story
Zoe Tillman / BuzzFeed:
Judge Says That Paul Manafort Can Go Free But He Has To Live In Florida And Be Home By 11 P.M.  —  Manafort will have GPS monitoring and must get permission from the judge to travel outside of court appearances.  —  Reporting From Washington, DC  —  Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort …
Discussion: Politico and New York Magazine
Josh Delk / The Hill:
Manafort to be released from house arrest: report
Discussion: Reuters and IJR
Naomi Jagoda / The Hill:
Republicans unveil final version of tax bill  —  Republicans late Friday afternoon unveiled the final text of their bill to rewrite the tax code, which they are racing to send to President Trump  —  's desk before Christmas.  —  Like the bills that came before it, the legislation produced …
Discussion: RedState, ABC News, Axios and IJR
Miranda Green / CNN:
Trump judicial nominee struggles to answer basic legal questions at hearing  —  Washington (CNN)A Trump judicial nominee struggled to answer basic legal questions posed to him by a Republican senator on Wednesday, including his lack of experience on trial work, the amount of depositions he'd worked on and more.
John Harwood / CNBC:
Rep. Tom Cole doesn't trust the economists on GOP tax plan: ‘There are about as many economists as there are opinions.’  — Rep. Tom Cole is as good as anyone to ask: Why are Republicans rushing to pass an unpopular tax bill that economists predict will increase deficits without fueling much economic growth?
Nicholas Fandos / New York Times:
House Intelligence Panel Is Rushing to Complete Russia Probe  —  WASHINGTON — The House Intelligence Committee is racing to complete its investigation of Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential election, scheduling a host of witness interviews here and in New York for next week …
Discussion: AOL
Jordan Fabian / The Hill:
Trump rips the FBI before speech at its training academy  —  on Friday tore into the FBI just hours before speaking at the agency's training academy.  —  “It's a shame what's happened with the FBI.  But we're going to rebuild the FBI; it'll be bigger and better than ever,” Trump told reporters.
Discussion: RedState
Trump initiated Putin call in the wake of economic praise
Discussion: Shareblue Media and VICE News
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 More Items: 
John McCain described as increasingly frail, Senate sources say
Discussion: FiveThirtyEight
Erica Werner / Washington Post:
Sen. Susan Collins takes huge leap of faith with tax bill. Critics say she's getting played.
Discussion: Lawyers, Guns & Money
Paul Mirengoff / Power Line:
GOP Senators unanimous in support for tax bill
Discussion: Business Insider, The Atlantic and IJR
Rebecca Savransky / The Hill:
Nazareth mayor cancels Christmas celebration over Trump's Jerusalem decision
Discussion: IJR
Josh Delk / The Hill:
Roy Moore fundraising for ‘election integrity fund’ ahead of election certification
Discussion: Politico and
Alexander Bolton / The Hill:
Democratic poll shows tax bill hurts GOP incumbents
Dade Hayes / Deadline:
New York's Famed Lincoln Plaza Art House Theatre Scheduled To Close In January
Discussion: IndieWire
 Earlier Items: 
Matthew Fowler / Washington Post:
Why 41 percent of white millennials voted for Trump
Discussion: Vox and Lawyers, Guns & Money
Scott Shackford / Hit & Run:
There Will Be No Viking Longboats Cruising the Mississippi, Thanks to Hard-Headed U.S. Protectionism
Sonny Bunch / Washington Free Beacon:
‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ Review