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1:50 PM ET, February 13, 2018

memeorandum

 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.
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: Axios and Mediaite
Colbie Holderness / Washington Post:
Rob Porter is my ex-husband.  Here's what you should know about abuse.  —  Colbie Holderness was the first wife of former White House staff secretary Rob Porter.  —  White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said Sunday that she has no reason not to believe statements that Jennifer Willoughby …
Peter Baker / New York Times:
A Whirlwind Envelops the White House, and the Revolving Door Spins  —  WASHINGTON — The doors at the White House have been swinging a lot lately.  A deputy chief of staff moved on.  A speechwriter resigned.  The associate attorney general stepped down.  The chief of staff offered to quit.
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.
Daniel Lippman / Politico:
VETERAN REPUBLICAN pulls ISSA into his divorce case …
Discussion: Variety and The Week
Deb Riechmann / Associated Press:
US intelligence boss to AP: Security clearances are ‘broken’
Discussion: Axios
Chris Cillizza / CNN:
People are leaving the Trump White House in record numbers
Discussion: Vox, The Daily Caller and twitchy.com
Jonathan Swan / Axios:   White House official: “Kelly cover-up is unraveling”
Martin Matishak / Politico:
FBI director puts responsibility for Porter on White House
Discussion: Axios and The Week
Louis Nelson / Politico:
Rob Porter's first ex-wife responds to Kellyanne Conway
Discussion: CNN, Splinter and ABC News
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
Caitlin Dewey / Washington Post:
Trump wants to slash food stamps and replace them with a ‘Blue Apron-type program’
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:
New York Times:
Dozens of Russians Are Believed Killed in U.S.-Led Syria Attack  —  MOSCOW — Four Russian nationals, and perhaps dozens more, were killed in fighting between pro-government forces in eastern Syria and members of the United States-led coalition fighting the Islamic State, according to Russian and Syrian officials.
Discussion: Power Line and Al Jazeera English
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:
Deb Riechmann / Associated Press:
US intel officials say Russia targeting midterms
Discussion: IJR
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 …
RELATED:
Helena Andrews-Dyer / Chicago Tribune:
Omarosa on Mike Pence: ‘He thinks Jesus tells him to say things’
Discussion: Splinter
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.
Discussion: Washington Monthly
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.
Jake Seiner / 2018 Winter Olympics:
Inside the halfpipe finals with Chloe Kim's Korean family  —  PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (AP) _ Chloe Kim's father pointed to himself and said “American dream!” then let out a whoop.  —  Nearly a decade after the Korean immigrant quit his job in California to help his precocious daughter become a snowboarder …
RELATED:
Walter Russell Mead / Wall Street Journal:
Kim Yo Jong's Shattered Olympic Dream
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.
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 and Axios
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.
Discussion: Political Wire
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: Axios and Mediaite
Ruby Cramer / BuzzFeed:
Kirsten Gillibrand Pledges To Stop Accepting Donations From Corporate PACs  —  Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is pledging to refuse contributions from corporate PACs — a move that puts her in a small group of national Democrats and sets a new bar on the issue of campaign finance for other potential presidential candidates in 2020.
Andrew Dodson / MLive.com:
Rising star in Michigan Republican Party blasts Trump and resigns  —  BAY CITY, MI — Expressing disappointment over President Donald Trump and vowing to no longer be affiliated with any political party, the chairman of the Bay County Republican Party has stepped down from his post.
Discussion: The Hill and RedState
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.
Discussion: CPB, Breitbart and Washington Press
Chris Massie / CNN:
GOP Senate candidate's parents max out donations to primary campaign of Democrat he hopes to unseat  —  (CNN)Just months after Republican Kevin Nicholson announced his bid to unseat incumbent Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin in 2018, his own parents donated the legal maximum to her primary campaign.
USA Today:
Justice Department turnover is bad news for Mueller, ethics and democracy  —  Rachel Brand had the backbone to refuse wrongful orders.  She provided a measure of protection for Mueller and Justice independence.  But now she's gone.  —  CONNECT  —  Under normal circumstances …
Associated Press:
KS Sec. of State's Office: Hutch dog not allowed to run for governor  —  HUTCHINSON, Kan. Update 9: 15 p.m. Monday, Feb. 12:  —  Not so fast.  The Kansas Secretary of State's Office says Angus cannot serve as the state's governor.  While there is nothing specifically written …
John Cassidy / New Yorker:
A White House Budget Fit for the King of Debt  —  As a guide to policy, the White House's budget for 2019, which was released on Monday, isn't worth much.  In the federal government, Congress holds the purse strings, and these days it has largely abandoned the annual budgeting process …
 
 
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 More Items: 
John Bacon / USA Today:
Philippine president Duterte suggests troops should shoot female rebels in vagina
Discussion: AOL
Lisa Bonos / Washington Post:
'It's tough for me to know where the line is': The #MeToo era is making dating more confusing
Lee Smith / Tablet Magazine:
Was Christopher Steele Paid by Russian Oligarch and Putin Ally Oleg Deripaska?
Dennis Ross / Washington Post:
America should get behind Saudi Arabia's revolutionary crown prince
Rachael Bade / Politico:
GOP congressman pulls Issa into ugly divorce
Alexia Fernández Campbell / Vox:
3 Trump properties posted 144 openings for seasonal jobs. Only one went to a US worker.
Mike Allen / Axios:
Bill Gates: tech companies inviting government intervention
Discussion: Gizmodo, The Daily Caller and AOL
 Earlier Items: 
Joe DePaolo / Mediaite:
Maria Bartiromo Confronts Paul Ryan on Budget Deal: 'You Don't Look Like' a Deficit Hawk
Aruna Viswanatha / Wall Street Journal:
Former Prosecutors Take Frustrations With Trump to the Campaign Trail
Discussion: Politicus USA and Political Wire
WBNS-TV:
Gigantic “Pigzilla” caught rummaging through dumpster
Discussion: VICE and The Daily Caller
Victor Davis Hanson / National Review:
Scandal, Corruption, Lawbreaking — And So What?
Jonah Engel Bromwich / New York Times:
Candidate Ejected From West Virginia House Floor for Listing Lawmakers' Oil and Gas Donors
Antonio Olivo / Washington Post:
Va. Republicans move to dump controversial leader over anti-Semitic online post
Byron York / Washington Examiner:
Comey told Congress FBI agents didn't think Michael Flynn lied
Kim Janssen / Chicago Tribune:
WLS-Ch.7 blames graphics ‘mix-up’ for confusion between P.F. Chang's and Pyeongchang