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12:10 PM ET, December 18, 2017


 Top Items: 
Mike Allen / Axios:
Muddying Mueller: Trump allies say strategy working  —  President Trump said yesterday “No, I'm not” when asked if he's considering firing Special Counsel Bob Mueller.  Truth is, his high-level Republican allies don't think he will need to.  —  Be smart: The Trump lawyers' strategy is to cooperate with Mueller on the inside game.
Discussion: The Week
Mike Memoli / NBC News:
House Republicans prepare to wrap up contentious Russia investigation  —  WASHINGTON — As House Republicans make the case for special counsel Robert Mueller to end his investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election, they appear ready to bring their own intelligence probe to an end.
Discussion: CNN, Political Wire and NBC News
Philip Rucker / Washington Post:
Trump says he won't fire Mueller, as campaign to discredit Russia probe heats up
Edward-Isaac Dovere / Politico:
Franken urged to reverse his resignation  —  At least four senators are urging Al Franken to reconsider resigning, including two who issued statements calling for the resignation two weeks ago and said they now feel remorse over what they feel was a rush to judgment.
Mallory Shelbourne / The Hill:
Manchin: I've ‘moved on’ from Trump sexual misconduct allegations
Discussion: IJR
Avery Anapol / The Hill:
Four senators urge Franken to reconsider resignation: report
Discussion: RedState, IJR and
David Leonhardt / New York Times:
A Tax Plan to Turbocharge Inequality, in 3 Charts  —  The Republican tax bill is an audacious attempt to accelerate the economic trends of the last half-century.  —  If you're a fan of these trends — rapidly rising inequality and stagnant middle-class incomes — you should love the bill.
Discussion: Washington Monthly
Wall Street Journal:
Sen. Collins Is Still Reviewing the Tax Bill  —  Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine is still reviewing the tax bill, her spokeswoman said, suggesting she hasn't yet reached a decision on how to vote.  —  Ms. Collins voted for an earlier version of the plan after GOP tax writers made several concessions …
Discussion: Washington Post
Richard Rubin / Wall Street Journal:   GOP Tax Bill Would Set Up Years of Challenges
Sources: Jerry Richardson, Panthers Have Made Multiple Confidential Payouts for Workplace Misconduct, Including Sexual Harassment and Use of a Racial Slur  — SI has learned that at least four former Panthers employees have received ‘significant’ monetary settlements due to inappropriate workplace comments …
Des Bieler / Washington Post:
Diddy wants to buy the Panthers and sign Colin Kaepernick  —  Just a few weeks ago, Diddy was saying he wanted to buy the entire NFL.  That, of course, was never realistic, but with the Carolina Panthers suddenly up for sale, you'd have to think the rapper/entrepreneur would be interested, right?
New York Times:
Rebelling Republican Suburbs Offer Democrats Path to House Control  —  HOUSTON — As she sat with a glass of sauvignon blanc waiting for a women-focused Democratic fund-raiser to begin, Nancy Sharp let loose in a Texas-seasoned drawl why she and so many other onetime supporters of the Bush family were abandoning the Republicans.
Matt Zapotosky / Washington Post:
Federal appeals judge announces immediate retirement amid investigation prompted by accusations of sexual misconduct  —  Alex Kozinski, the powerful judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit who was facing a judicial investigation over allegations that he subjected 15 women …
Julia Manchester / The Hill:
Former Fox News contributor who settled sexual harassment lawsuit breaks confidentiality agreement  —  A former Fox News contributor who reached a $2.5 million settlement with the network after alleging sexual assault on Sunday said she broke the terms of her confidentiality agreement in order to return fire on Fox mogul Rupert Murdoch.
ESPN MediaZone:
News Regarding John Skipper  —  ESPN President John Skipper announced today that he is resigning from his position, citing a substance addiction problem.  Former ESPN President and Executive Chairman George Bodenheimer (who worked at ESPN from 1981-2014) will serve as Acting Chair of the company …
Financial Times:
Trump year one: better scorecard than predicted … President Donald Trump is within reach of his first big legislative victory as the US Congress prepares to pass a tax bill that would allow him to end his first year with a better scorecard than many had predicted.
Byron York / Washington Examiner:   Amid firestorms, Trump has year of solid policy accomplishments. Can he keep going?
Alyssa Rosenberg / Washington Post:
It's time to stop grading movies like ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ on a curve  —  This post discusses the events of “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” in obsessive detail.  —  Last week, I wrote a spoiler-free exploration of why “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” simply didn't work for me …
Patricia Mazzei / New York Times:
Puerto Rico Orders Review and Recount of Hurricane Deaths  —  Facing mounting evidence that Puerto Rico has vastly undercounted the number of people who died because of Hurricane Maria, Gov. Ricardo A. Rosselló ordered on Monday that every death on the island since the calamitous storm be reviewed.
Discussion: Axios, Washington Post and Splinter
Benny Johnson / The Daily Caller:
Linda Sarsour Accused Of Enabling Sexual Assault Against Woman Who Worked For Her  —  The inspiration behind the Women's March on DC, Linda Sarsour, has been accused of enabling the alleged sexual assault and harassment of a woman who worked for the feminist activist, according to the victim …
Monmouth University:
Monmouth University Polling Institute  —  Half The Public Say Their Taxes Will Go Up Under Gop Plan  —  Trump policies not helping middle class  —  West Long Branch, NJ - Americans disapprove of the tax reform plan currently making its way through Congress by a nearly 2-to-1 margin.
Discussion: Political Wire
Scott Johnson / Power Line:
What happened in Wisconsin: Sen. Tiffany comments  —  Shortly after posting “What happened in Wisconsin, cont'd” yesterday morning, we received the message below from Wisconsin state Senator Tom Tiffany.  Senator Tiffany's message updates and comments on the story so far.
Dylan Scott / Vox:
Obamacare will survive  —  It won't be pretty.  But the law might really, finally be in the clear.  —  The Affordable Care Act is going to survive.  —  Republicans are on track to repeal the law's individual mandate in their tax overhaul as early as next week.
Henry Silverman / Facebook:
News Feed FYI: Fighting Engagement Bait on Facebook  —  People have told us that they dislike spammy posts on Facebook that goad them into interacting with likes, shares, comments, and other actions.  For example, “LIKE this if you're an Aries!”  This tactic, known as “engagement bait,” …
Trump, Real Estate Investors Get Last-Minute Perk in Tax Bill  —  Late revision supplies break based on investments in property  —  Corker, who dropped opposition, says he wasn't aware of change  —  Lawmakers scrambling to lock up Republican support for the tax reform bill added …
Alix Culbertson / Sky News:
Shots fired as ‘car rams gate’ at US Air Force base in Suffolk  —  A car rammed the gates of a US Air Force base in Suffolk as gun shots were fired.  —  A Ministry of Defence (MoD) source said a man driving a car tried to force the vehicle into the barriers at the entrance to RAF Mildenhall near Bury St Edmunds at 1pm on Monday.
Greg Moran / Los Angeles Times:
Government paying private firm $297 million to help hire 5,000 Border Patrol agents  —  Border Patrol Agent Eduardo Olmos apprehends a Mexican immigrant trying to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in San Diego.  (Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)  —  With a mandate from President Trump …
Avery Anapol / The Hill:
Twitter suspends far-right British figure retweeted by Trump  —  A far-right British activist who gained prominence after President Trump  —  retweeted her anti-Muslim tweets in November had her Twitter account suspended on Monday as part of the social network's effort to crack down on hate speech.
Ben Geman / Axios:
New security strategy drops climate from threat list  —  The White House will unveil a new national security strategy that, according to multiple reports, will break with the Obama administration by declining to recognize climate change as a threat to national security interests.
Discussion: Associated Press and Politico
Matt Pearce / Los Angeles Times:
Sarah Palin's oldest son, Track, arrested on domestic violence charges  —  Track Palin is shown at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn., in September 2008.  (Emmanuel Dunand / AFP/Getty Images)  —  Track Palin, the oldest son of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin …
Daniel Politi / Slate:
Fox News Host Suggests “We Have a Coup on Our Hands in America”  —  Fox News host Jesse Watters suggested that the FBI investigation into whether Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election has maybe transformed into a “coup” against President Donald trump.
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 More Items: 
Robert O'Harrow Jr / Washington Post:
Fallout from allegations of tea party targeting hamper IRS oversight of nonprofits
Discussion: Political Wire
New York Times:
Trump National Security Strategy Sees U.S. Confronting China and Russia
New York Times:
Warren and Sanders: Who Is Congress Really Serving?
Discussion: Common Dreams
David E. Sanger / New York Times:
A Tillerson Slip Offers a Peek Into Secret Planning on North Korea
Pew Research Center:
Sharing the News in a Polarized Congress
Discussion: Politico
USA Today:
Power back on after outage strands thousands at Atlanta airport
E.J. Dionne Jr / Washington Post:
Republicans are joining a festival of corruption
Discussion: The Week
Washington Bureaucrats Are Chipping Away at Trump's Agenda
Discussion: Raw Story
 Earlier Items: 
Olivia Solon / The Guardian:
How Syria's White Helmets became victims of an online propaganda machine
Jay Cost / National Review:
Trump's Refusal to Embrace the Norms of Presidential Behavior Will Hurt His Party
Stephanie Kirchgaessner / The Guardian:
The Farage staffer, the Russian embassy and a smear campaign against a Kremlin critic
Jennifer Haberkorn / Politico:
GOP leaders in House, Senate endorse conflicting shutdown strategies
Discussion: Daily Kos and New York Magazine
Erin Griffith / Wired:
THE OTHER TECH BUBBLE  —  In September, I met with a prominent …
Josh Gerstein / Politico:
Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner are sued over financial disclosures
Discussion: The Hill and Raw Story
CBS News:
Sen. John McCain returns to Arizona, will miss vote on GOP tax bill