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4:30 PM ET, February 13, 2018

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 Top Items: 
Eliana Johnson / Politico:
Kelly increasingly isolated as Porter scandal rages on  —  Turbulence in this West Wing is typically generated by President Donald Trump, but for the past week, it's been chief of staff John Kelly — the man brought in to be a steadying hand — who's inspiring what one White House official described as a crisis of confidence.
RELATED:
Michael D. Shear / New York Times:
White House Was Warned of Aide's Background Months Earlier Than Acknowledged  —  WASHINGTON — Christopher A. Wray, the F.B.I. director, contradicted on Tuesday the White House timeline about the domestic abuse scandal involving Rob Porter, the president's former staff secretary.
Jonathan Swan / Axios:
White House official: “Kelly cover-up is unraveling”  —  Chief of Staff John Kelly's White House enemies are ready to use FBI Director Chris Wray's testimony as a weapon: “Wray's FBI timeline makes one thing clear: the Kelly coverup is unraveling right before our eyes,” a White House official says.
Wall Street Journal:
FBI Director's Timeline of Porter Probe Contradicts White House  —  Christopher Wray tells Senate committee that agency ‘administratively closed’ file on Rob Porter, contradicting White House claim that probe was ongoing  —  The head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation said his agency …
Discussion: CNN, Talking Points Memo, Axios and Mediaite
CNN:
Porter was up for promotion despite abuse allegations  —  (CNN)Rob Porter was involved in serious discussions to be promoted when he abruptly resigned from the White House last week amid allegations that he abused his two ex-wives, multiple sources familiar with the matter tell CNN.
Colbie Holderness / Washington Post:
Rob Porter is my ex-husband. Here's what you should know about abuse.
Helena Andrews-Dyer / Chicago Tribune:
Omarosa on Mike Pence: ‘He thinks Jesus tells him to say things’
Discussion: Splinter
Deb Riechmann / Associated Press:
US intelligence boss to AP: Security clearances are ‘broken’
Discussion: Axios
Daniel Lippman / Politico:
VETERAN REPUBLICAN pulls ISSA into his divorce case …
Discussion: Variety, Business Insider and The Week
David A. Graham / The Atlantic:
How the White House Gamed the Security-Clearance System
Chris Cillizza / CNN:
People are leaving the Trump White House in record numbers
Discussion: The Daily Caller, Vox and twitchy.com
Reuters:
FBI's Wray contradicts White House on Porter background check
Discussion: TheBlaze, Towleroad and Politico
Carrie Battan / ELLE:
Louise Linton Is Super-Duper Sorry  —  Louise Linton has accomplished the near-impossible task of locating an ordinary meeting place in the most moneyed stretch of the Upper East Side, where she and her husband, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin, own an apartment.
Sean Hannity:
PORTRAIT PERVERSION: Obama Portrait Features ‘SECRET SPERM,’ Artist Joked About ‘Killing Whitey’  —  The widening scandal surrounding former President Barack Obama's official portrait continued to swirl on Tuesday, with shocking allegations the artist included ‘secret sperm cells’ within …
RELATED:
Lawrence Bonk / Mediaite:
Hannity's Blog Posts, Then Deletes Story That Obama Portrait Has Hidden ‘Secret Sperm’ (UPDATED)
Discussion: Breitbart and Right Wing Watch
Alex Roarty / McClatchy Washington Bureau:
Internal Dem polling shows Trump's standing on the rise  —  A leading Democratic group — Priorities USA — is warning party leaders they could squander a strong political climate in 2018 if they don't start to emphasize pocketbook issues over loose and unfocused critiques of Donald Trump.
RELATED:
Matt Lopez / Priorities USA:
RE: New Poll & Messaging Guidance: Democrats Must Keep Focus on Economy and Health Care … For much of the past year Democrats have debated Republicans on tax reform and the Republican efforts to dismantle and sabotage the Affordable Care Act.  When that debate was being waged, voters overwhelmingly sided with Democrats.
Bloomberg:
U.S. Strikes Killed Scores of Russian Fighters in Syria, Sources Say  —  More than 200 contract soldiers are said to have been killed  —  The casualties dwarf official Russian army death toll in Syria  —  U.S. forces killed scores of Russian contract soldiers in Syria last week …
RELATED:
Helena Bottemiller Evich / Politico:
Trump pitches plan to replace food stamps with food boxes  —  The Trump administration is proposing to save billions in the coming years by giving low-income families a box of government-picked, nonperishable foods every month instead of food stamps.  —  White House OMB Director Mick Mulvaney …
RELATED:
Peter Weber / The Week:
Trump budget chief promises food stamp recipients a ‘Blue Apron-like’ replacement, is clearly unfamiliar with Blue Apron
Discussion: Washington Press
New York Times:
Netanyahu Should Be Charged With Bribery and Fraud, Israeli Police Say  —  JERUSALEM — The Israeli police recommended on Tuesday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu be charged with bribery, fraud and breach of trust, casting a pall over the future of a tenacious leader who has become almost synonymous with his country.
Discussion: BBC, Political Wire, NPR and Mother Jones
RELATED:
Matthew Rosenberg / New York Times:
Russia Sees Midterm Elections as Chance to Sow Fresh Discord, Intelligence Chiefs Warn  —  WASHINGTON — As the midterm elections approach, Russia is likely to throw more propaganda at Americans, using people sympathetic to their messages and fake personalities on social media …
RELATED:
Dan Savage / The Stranger, Seattle's Only Newspaper:
Pennsylvania Pastor Caught in Parked Car with Bound Naked Man  —  “I have nothing to hide,” says Pastor George Gregory of Waterfront Christian Community Church, “I did nothing wrong.”  But according to the police report, Pastor George Gregory of Munhall, PA, was sitting fully clothed …
Washpostpr / Washington Post:
Megan McArdle named Washington Post Opinions columnist  —  The Washington Post today announced Megan McArdle will be a columnist for the Opinions section starting March 1.  In this role, McArdle will write columns with a focus on the intersection of economics, business and public policy.
David Brooks / New York Times:
The End of the Two-Party System  —  In the first half of the 1990s, I worked in Europe for The Wall Street Journal.  I covered nothing but good news: the reunification of Germany, the liberation of Central Europe, the fall of the Soviet Union, the end of apartheid in South Africa, the Oslo peace process in the Middle East.
Darwin Paz / Governor Tom Wolf:
Governor Tom Wolf Rejects Partisan Gerrymandered Map  —  Analyses, Non-Partisan Experts Say GOP Submission is Partisan, Gerrymandered  —  Harrisburg, PA - Governor Tom Wolf today told the Pennsylvania Supreme Court that he will not accept the proposed map Republican legislative leaders submitted because it …
Discussion: Mother Jones, Axios and Washington Post
Dan Alexander / Forbes:
Trump's Biggest Potential Conflict Of Interest Is Hiding In Plain Sight  —  The largest American office of China's largest bank sits on the 20th floor of Trump Tower, six levels below the desk where Donald Trump built an empire and wrested a presidency.  It's hard to get a glimpse inside.
Maxwell Tani / The Daily Beast:
Trump's Lawyer Michael Cohen Is Shopping a Book About the First Family, Stormy Daniels, and Russia … Donald Trump's longtime personal lawyer is writing a book about his life and relationship with the president.  —  According to a proposal shopped to multiple publishers and obtained by The Daily Beast …
Discussion: Mediaite and Axios
WTTG-TV:
White powdery substance under investigation at former President Obama's DC office  —  WASHINGTON - The Secret Service is investigating after reports that a white powdery substance had been found at former President Barack Obama's D.C. office.  —  The incident was reported Tuesday around 12:30 p.m …
Discussion: New York Post and Raw Story
Joe Concha / The Hill:
Trump proposes eliminating federal funding for PBS, NPR  —  's newly proposed budget includes a proposal to end federal funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), part of a package that includes $300 billion in new spending overall.  —  CPB provides federal funding for PBS and National Public Radio stations.
Rob Port / Say Anything:
Emineth Says Cramer Is in Senate Race as He Withdraws His Candidacy  —  I haven't heard any sort of an announcement that Congressman Kevin Cramer is, for certain, running for the U.S. Senate but fellow Republican candidate Gary Emineth just sent out an email saying he's withdrawing his candidacy.
Lynette Rice / EW.com:
Celebrity Big Brother: Omarosa calls Vice President Mike Pence ‘scary’  —  Omarosa may be on her way out but she still has plenty more to say about her time in the White House.  —  In this clip from tonight's episode of Celebrity Big Brother, Omarosa tells her fellow houseguests …
 
 
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 More Items: 
Philip Bump / Washington Post:
Trump has held three news conferences ... since the Republican convention
Peter Morici / MarketWatch:
Opinion: Trump's immigration plan is a sound start for an ultimate compromise
Discussion: The Gateway Pundit
Paul Waldman / Washington Post:
Trump and Republicans are preparing an all-out assault on the safety net
Discussion: Washington Examiner
Daniel Miller / Los Angeles Times:
Vice Media sued by former employee alleging systemic pay discrimination against women
Edmund Lee / Recode:
Janice Min was approached to edit the Los Angeles Times
Ruby Cramer / BuzzFeed:
Kirsten Gillibrand Pledges To Stop Accepting Donations From Corporate PACs
 Earlier Items: 
Andrew Dodson / MLive.com:
Rising star in Michigan Republican Party blasts Trump and resigns
Discussion: The Hill, RedState and Washington Press
Lisa Bonos / Washington Post:
'It's tough for me to know where the line is': The #MeToo era is making dating more confusing
Jake Seiner / 2018 Winter Olympics:
Inside the halfpipe finals with Chloe Kim's Korean family
Alexia Fernández Campbell / Vox:
3 Trump properties posted 144 openings for seasonal jobs. Only one went to a US worker.
Victor Davis Hanson / National Review:
Scandal, Corruption, Lawbreaking — And So What?
USA Today:
Justice Department turnover is bad news for Mueller, ethics and democracy