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11:45 AM ET, December 21, 2017

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 Top Items: 
Avery Anapol / The Hill:
Trump praises ‘Fox & Friends’ for being named ‘most influential’ because he watches it  —  on Thursday praised “Fox & Friends” after a media website named it the “most influential” because he watches it.  —  “Was @foxandfriends just named the most influential show in news?”  Trump tweeted.
RELATED:
Mediaite:
Most Influential in Media 2017  —  5. Rachel Maddow  —  When it comes to MSNBC prime time, there is Maddow. . and then everyone else.  The 9 PM MSNBC break out star has successfully positioned herself as a leading voice (and perhaps the leading voice) of “The Resistance” …
Mitch Smith / New York Times:
President Commutes Sentence of Iowa Meatpacking Executive  —  President Trump on Wednesday commuted the prison sentence of Sholom Rubashkin, whose Iowa meatpacking plant was the target of a huge immigration raid in 2008, and whose 27-year prison sentence angered many Orthodox Jews.
RELATED:
Lindsey McPherson / Roll Call:
Pelosi to GOP: You're on Your Own With CR  —  House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is urging her Democratic colleagues to vote against a bill to fund the government past Dec. 22, putting pressure on House Republicans to come up with a plan their conference can carry.
Discussion: Daily Kos
Luke Nozicka / Des Moines Register:
President Trump commutes sentence of Sholom Rubashkin, ex-Iowa slaughterhouse executive
Paul Kane / Washington Post:
Forget what they say — House Democrats are readying for impeachment
Discussion: Raw Story and Politico
Eli Lake / Bloomberg:
Nikki Haley Confronts the U.N.'s ‘Jackals’  —  The U.S. ambassador, like the president, knows that the organization is irrelevant without its richest member.  —  When U.N. member states vote Thursday on a resolution condemning America's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, Ambassador Nikki Haley will be watching.
RELATED:
Peter Beaumont / The Guardian:
Trump threatens to cut aid to countries over UN Jerusalem vote
Declan Walsh / New York Times:
Pence's Christmas Pilgrimage Is Canceled. His Next Mideast Move Is Complicated.
Discussion: The Gateway Pundit
John Bresnahan / Politico:
House Republicans quietly investigate perceived corruption at DOJ, FBI  —  A group of House Republicans has gathered secretly for weeks in the Capitol in an effort to build a case that senior leaders of the Justice Department and FBI improperly — and perhaps criminally …
RELATED:
Matthew Chapman / Shareblue Media:   “Are Republicans dead inside?” GOP host slams her own party in disgust
Jordan Pascale / Virginian-Pilot:
Virginia officials will randomly pick winner of tied House of Delegates race on Dec. 27  —  Politicos, mark your calendars for Wednesday Dec. 27.  —  That's the day the Virginia Board of Elections will randomly pick the winner of the high stakes and tied 94th House District race.  —  The impact?
RELATED:
Bloomberg:
Mueller Is Looking Into a U.S. Foundation Backed by Russian Money  —  Foundation got $500,000 in undisclosed Russian donations  —  Representatives attended meeting with Trump campaign officials  —  Sara Peterson flew to Moscow in 2012 to take home two Russian orphans just as the Kremlin …
NBC News:
Prosecutors ask FBI agents for info on Uranium One deal  —  On the orders of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Justice Department prosecutors have begun asking FBI agents to explain the evidence they found in a now dormant criminal investigation into a controversial uranium deal that critics …
Ben Riley-Smith / Telegraph:
Exclusive: US making plans for ‘bloody nose’ military attack on North Korea  —  America is drawing up plans for a “bloody nose” military attack on North Korea to stop its nuclear weapons programme, The Telegraph understands.  —  The White House has “dramatically” stepped up preparation …
Discussion: Business Insider
New York Times:
Facebook Job Ads Raise Concerns About Age Discrimination  —  This article was written through collaboration between The New York Times and ProPublica, the independent, nonprofit investigative journalism organization.  —  A few weeks ago, Verizon placed an ad on Facebook to recruit applicants …
Mallory Shelbourne / The Hill:
Ivanka Trump: Corker had ‘real integrity’ during tax negotiations  —  , first daughter and senior adviser to President Trump  —  (R-Tenn.) for his work on the GOP tax bill, saying the Tennessee lawmaker “had real integrity.”  —  “I spent a lot of time with Senator Corker as well.
Discussion: Politico
RELATED:
John W. Schoen / CNBC:
Dozens of lawmakers stand to reap a tax windfall due to a GOP loophole
Discussion: Raw Story
Fox Business:
Money Talks: Blackstone, Carlyle, KKR dial up donations to key GOP lawmakers as tax bill protects carried interest loophole  —  If you want to know how one of Wall Street's biggest players managed to keep a massive and controversial loophole in the GOP tax bill, just follow the money.
Discussion: Washington Post
RELATED:
Tory Newmyer / Washington Post:
The Finance 202: Trump pledged to slash a key break for investment managers.  Here's the inside story of how he failed.
Discussion: Axios
John Judis / Talking Points Memo:
The Politics of the Republican Tax Bill: A Dissenting View  —  I am not a fan of the new tax bill that the Republican Congress passed.  It will widen the gap between the wealthy and everyone else and increase the likelihood over a decade or so of another crash.
Discussion: Mother Jones
RELATED:
Steven Shepard / Politico:
Polls show sizable advantage for Democrats in 2018 midterm election
Discussion: AOL, Slate and Business Insider
Washington Post:
Fueled by drug crisis, U.S. life expectancy declines for a second straight year … American life expectancy at birth declined for the second consecutive year in 2016, fueled by a staggering 21 percent rise in the death rate from drug overdoses, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Thursday.
Discussion: The Atlantic and The Verge
Judy Kurtz / The Hill:
Chappelle to Trump voters in new special: 'You are poor.  He's fighting for me'  —  Dave Chappelle says he “feels sorry” for “poor whites” who voted for President Trump  —  in the 2016 election because the commander in chief doesn't have their best interests in mind.
Discussion: Raw Story
Arie Shapira / Bloomberg:
Long Island Iced Tea Soars 500% After Changing Its Name to Long Blockchain  —  There's a new leader in the sweepstakes for the zaniest name change in the crypto craze.  —  Long Island Iced Tea Corp. shares rose 238 percent after the company rebranded itself Long Blockchain Corp. It's …
Discussion: New York Magazine
The Commercial Appeal:
Memphis removing Confederate statues from Downtown parks  —  Yalonda M. James/The Commercial Appeal  —  The city of Memphis sold two public parks containing Confederate monuments to a nonprofit Wednesday in a massive, months-in-the-planning operation to take the statues down overnight.
RELATED:
Thomas B. Edsall / New York Times:
You Cannot Be Too Cynical About the Republican Tax Bill  —  The rush to enact the tax bill was designed to mask — as a break for the middle class — what is in fact a $1.4 trillion package of benefits for key donors and lobbyists, the richest members of Congress, President Trump, his family and other families like his.
Howard Kurtz / Fox News:
Hell freezes over: Media start admitting that Trump's first year isn't a flop  —  I have sensed for weeks now that some in the media were on the verge of rolling out a contrary take on President Trump's first year in office.  —  And in the wake of yesterday's final passage of massive tax cuts, that moment has arrived.
Erik Wasson / Bloomberg:
Trump Plans Tax Signing on Jan. 3 Due to Technical Issue  —  President Donald Trump plans to sign the tax bill on Jan. 3 to ensure automatic spending cuts to Medicare and other programs don't take effect, according to a House Republican aide familiar with the plans.
Discussion: IJR and Political Wire
John Bresnahan / Politico:
Cochran's future in the Senate in doubt  —  Sen. Thad Cochran, chairman of the powerful Appropriations Committee, hasn't presided over a hearing since early September.  The Mississippi Republican has not given a speech on the Senate floor all year, and he's introduced only two bills during that time, both of them minor.
Bloomberg:
Ryan Pushes Trump to Follow Tax Win With U.S. Welfare Revamp  —  Trump determined use momentum from tax win for big legislation  —  Ryan pressing to top agenda with limits on social safety net  —  Republicans want to channel momentum from the GOP's victory on taxes into a push to overhaul …
Jonathan Chait / New York Magazine:
Wall Street Journal Killed Editorial on Trump's Mob Ties  —  In a short period of time, five staffers have departed The Wall Street Journal editorial page.  The general cause of their departures, willing and otherwise, is known: the Journal editorial line has increasingly conformed …
James Piereson / American Greatness:
Good Riddance to the Blue State Model  —  A few years ago, Walter Russell Mead published an insightful article titled, “The Once and Future Liberalism” in which he described two models of governance in the American states.  First is the blue state model—found in states like New York …
Travis Gettys / Raw Story:
Ridiculous video emerges of wealthy Koch heir — and the internet is dying of laughter  —  The billionaire heir of conservative industrialist Bill Koch stands to benefit mightily from the newly passed Republican tax overhaul.  —  Wyatt Ingraham Koch is president and CEO of the Wyatt Ingraham clothing brand …
Murray Waas / Foreign Policy:
White House Counsel Knew in January Flynn Probably Violated the Law  —  Don McGahn was looking at whether the national security advisor violated federal laws just days after Trump moved into the White House.  —  The White House turned over records this fall to special counsel Robert Mueller revealing …
 
 
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 More Items: 
Bloomberg:
How Facebook's Political Unit Enables the Dark Art of Digital Propaganda
Discussion: Instapundit
Caitlin Owens / Axios:
McConnell: Welfare & entitlement reform not on 2018 agenda
Discussion: Politico and The Daily Beast
David Smith / The Guardian:
Trump will personally save up to $15m under tax bill, analysis finds
Robert Anglen / Arizona Republic:
Judge declares mistrial in Bundy Ranch standoff case
Charles M. Blow / New York Times:
The Great American Tax Heist
 Earlier Items: 
Yascha Mounk / New York Times:
The Real Coup Plot Is Trump's
Bill Ervolino / USA Today:
Dec. 21 will be the worst day of 2017, astrologers say
Robin Pogrebin / New York Times:
Chuck Close Apologizes After Accusations of Sexual Harassment
Discussion: The Daily Beast and HuffPost
Sun-Sentinel:
Venus Williams fatal crash: No one is to blame, police say
Discussion: The Root and NPR
Lorraine Woellert / Politico:
Puerto Rico governor vows midterm revenge for tax bill
Matthew Panzarino / TechCrunch:
Apple addresses why people are saying their iPhones with older batteries are running ‘slower’
Dean L. Winslow / Washington Post:
I spoke my mind on guns. Then my Senate confirmation was put on hold.
Discussion: IJR and Raw Story
Sydney Ember / New York Times:
Glenn Thrush, Suspended Times Reporter, to Resume Work but Won't Cover White House