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12:20 AM ET, January 26, 2018


 Top Items: 
New York Times:
Trump Ordered Mueller Fired, but Backed Off When White House Counsel Threatened to Quit  —  WASHINGTON — President Trump ordered the firing last June of Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel overseeing the Russia investigation, according to four people told of the matter …
Washington Post:
Trump moved to fire special counsel Mueller in June, bringing the White House's top lawyer to the brink of quitting  —  President Trump sought the firing of Robert S. Mueller III last June, shortly after the special counsel took over the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election …
Ed Henry / Fox News:
Trump was talked out of firing Mueller last June, source says  —  President Trump told top officials this past June that he wanted to fire special counsel Robert Mueller, but was talked out of doing so by White House counsel Don McGahn and other aides, a source close to the White House told Fox News late Thursday.
8 times since June the White House denied Trump was considering firing Mueller  —  NYT: Trump called for Mueller's firing in June 2017  —  (CNN)President Donald Trump considered firing special counsel Robert Mueller last June, but backed down after White House counsel Don McGahn threatened to quit …
Betsy Woodruff / The Daily Beast:
Trump's Attorney Says No Decision to Talk to Mueller  —  John Dowd, a lawyer for President Donald Trump, told The Daily Beast on Wednesday he will be the one to decide whether or not Trump sits down for an interview with special counsel Robert Mueller.  Dowd also said he hasn't made any decision …
Discussion: Palmer Report, Mediaite and Joe.My.God.
SHennessey / Lawfare:
Trump's Effort to Fire Mueller: Reactions to the New York Times Report  —  The New York Times reported Thursday evening that President Trump ordered the firing of Special Counsel Robert Mueller in June and was only dissuaded when White House Counsel Don McGahn threatened to resign rather …
Discussion: Politico and Raw Story
Betsy Woodruff / The Daily Beast:
Mueller Wasn't Interested in Bannon Until ‘Fire and Fury,’ Source Says
Discussion: RedState and Political Wire
Josh Meyer / Politico:   Source: Trump ordered special counsel Robert Mueller to be fired last year
Kaili Joy Gray / Shareblue Media:   White House doesn't deny it: Trump tried to fire Mueller and failed
Lorraine Woellert / Politico:
White House jumps back into Dreamer battle with citizenship offer  —  President Donald Trump on Monday will propose a pathway to citizenship for 1.8 million undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children — a key concession to Democrats that he hopes will win their support for a massive border wall with Mexico.
Sahil Kapur / Bloomberg:
Cruz Blasts Citizenship Path for Dreamers Suggested by Trump  —  Senator Ted Cruz blasted the idea of giving young undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship, a day after President Donald Trump said he was open to the idea as part of immigration legislation being negotiated in Congress.
Discussion: The Hill, CNN, RedState, Fox News, Breitbart and IJR
Paul Schwartzman / Washington Post:
The Trumps asked to borrow a Van Gogh for the White House.  The Guggenheim offered an 18K gold toilet instead.  —  The emailed response from the Guggenheim's chief curator to the White House was polite but firm: the museum could not accommodate a request to “borrow” a painting by Vincent Van Gogh …
Jonathan Tamari /
Rep. Pat Meehan will not seek reelection after sexual harassment furor  —  Rep. Pat Meehan will not seek reelection amid a furor over his use of taxpayer dollars to settle a sexual harassment claim against an aide, and the national response to his describing the woman as his “soul mate.”
Discussion: NPR, Axios, Roll Call, Splinter and The Week
Sharyl Attkisson / The Hill:
As walls close in on FBI, the bureau lashes out at its antagonists  —  BY SHARYL ATTKISSON, OPINION CONTRIBUTOR — 01/25/18 01:50 PM EST THE VIEWS EXPRESSED BY CONTRIBUTORS ARE THEIR OWN AND NOT THE VIEW OF THE HILL  —  What happens when federal agencies accused of possible wrongdoing — also control the alleged evidence against them?
Craig Timberg / Washington Post:
Russians got tens of thousands of Americans to RSVP for their phony political events on Facebook
Discussion: Political Wire
Huib Modderkolk / De Volkskrant:
Dutch agencies provide crucial intel about Russia's interference in US-elections  —  Hackers from the Dutch intelligence service AIVD have provided the FBI with crucial information about Russian interference with the American elections.  For years, AIVD had access to the infamous Russian hacker group Cozy Bear.
Dutch intelligence first to alert U.S. about Russian hack of Democratic Party
Discussion: CANNONFIRE
Ryan J. Reilly / HuffPost:
‘Secret Society’ FBI Text Actually Began With A ‘Beefcake’ Putin Calendar  —  The backstory to the message that's been blowing up conservative media is pretty funny.  —  WASHINGTON It was hours after Donald Trump became the president-elect, and two FBI officials, like many of their fellow citizens, were flabbergasted.
Fox News:
DOJ recovers missing text messages between anti-Trump FBI agents Strzok and Page
Dell Cameron / Gizmodo:
Kris Kobach's Office Leaks Last 4 Social Security Digits of Nearly Every Kansas Lawmaker and Thousands of State Employees, Including Kris Kobach  —  This is starting to just get sad.  —  Prior to receiving notice from Gizmodo this morning, Kris Kobach's office was leaking sensitive information belonging …
Discussion: Mother Jones and New York Magazine
David Edwards / Raw Story:
GOP Senate candidate flips out over 'women's rights': ‘I want to come home to a cooked dinner every night’  —  Republican U.S. Senate candidate for Missouri Courtland Sykes blasted “women's rights” this week.  —  In a statement posted to Facebook on Tuesday, Sykes said that he had been asked if he “supports women's rights.”
Kansas City Star:
Senate candidate wants daughters to be homemakers, not ‘career obsessed banshees’
Discussion: thecut and Political Wire
Page Six:
NBC stunned by how far Megyn Kelly went with Fonda attack  —  Megyn Kelly got approval from higher-ups at NBC before launching her hair-raising attack on Jane Fonda, Page Six has learned — but we're told that prominent members of the organization were then stunned by how far the broadside went.
Chris Spargo / Daily Mail:
EXCLUSIVE: NBC staffers ‘horrified’ …
Discussion: Mediaite
Mark Krikorian / National Review:
The Art of the Choke  —  The White House immigration outline was released today and it's not good.  It could change tomorrow, for all we know, but as it stands now, this is a preemptive surrender on several issues.  —  The enforcement component is fine, as far as it goes - there's no E-Verify …
Discussion: Mother Jones and Daily Wire
Neil Munro / Breitbart:   WH Plan: Big Amnesty Now, Nothing for Americans Until 2027
Mike Fleming / Deadline:
Casey Affleck Withdraws From Oscars: Won't Present Best Actress Award  —  EXCLUSIVE: Casey Affleck has withdrawn from presenting the Best Actress Award at the upcoming Oscars, Deadline hears.  He has notified the Academy he will not be attending the event, sources said.
Erik Wemple / Washington Post:
CNN reinstates Ryan Lizza  —  CNN is reinstating Ryan Lizza, the Washington political reporter who was fired from the New Yorker for alleged sexual misconduct.  “Upon learning of The New Yorker's decision to sever ties with Ryan Lizza in December, CNN pulled him from future on-air appearances …
Johnny Manziel / ESPN:
Vince McMahon: XFL to return in 2020 without gimmicks  —  WWE founder and chairman Vince McMahon announced Thursday he is giving a professional football league another go.  —  It will be called the XFL, the same name of the league McMahon and NBC tried for one season in 2001 …
Joe Kennedy to deliver Democratic response to State of the Union address  —  WASHINGTON - Representative Joseph P. Kennedy III, one of the Democratic Party's rising political stars, has been tapped by top party leaders to deliver the official Democratic response to President Trump's State of the Union address next week.
Ian Kerner / CNN:
Cuckolding can be positive for some couples, study says  —  (CNN)In our current political climate, the term “cuck” — short for “cuckservative” — has become an insult of the so-called alt-right, aimed at men they view as spineless and emasculated.  The slur has its roots in the concept of cuckolding, or having an adulterous partner.
Esme Cribb / Talking Points Memo:
The Photo That Never Saw The Light of Day: Obama With Farrakhan In 2005  —  A journalist announced last week that he will publish a photograph of then-Illinois Sen. Barack Obama (D) and Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan that he took in 2005 at a Congressional Black Caucus meeting …
Steven T. Dennis / Bloomberg:
Grassley Says ‘Spooked’ Kushner Won't Agree to Russia Interview  —  Committee to release other transcripts on Trump Tower meeting  —  ‘That section of our investigation is done,’ senator says  —  A “spooked” Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's son-in-law and adviser …
Discussion: Shareblue Media and Palmer Report
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 More Items: 
Associated Press:
Congressman who settled complaint won't seek re-election
Discussion: Politico
Megan Smolenyak:
Mike Pence's Immigrant Saga Makes a Case for Compassion
Discussion: Raw Story
Lili Loofbourow / The Week:
The female price of male pleasure
Wall Street Journal:
Iran's Fast Boats Stop Harassing U.S. Navy, Baffling Military
Discussion: RedState and The Daily Beast
 Earlier Items: 
First they were burned and whipped, then their families were sent the videos
Discussion: theGrio
John Nolte / Breitbart:
CNN's Climate of Hate Comes Home to Roost
Discussion: Mediaite
Angus Deaton / New York Times:
The U.S. Can No Longer Hide From Its Deep Poverty Problem
Discussion: Splinter
Putin Family Split Offers Peek at Secret Dealings of Russia Inc.
Discussion: 444 and The Week