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3:35 PM ET, April 12, 2018


 Top Items: 
Associated Press:
$30,000 rumor?  Tabloid paid for, spiked, salacious Trump tip  —  NEW YORK (AP) — Eight months before the company that owns the National Enquirer paid $150,000 to a former Playboy Playmate who claimed she'd had an affair with Donald Trump, the tabloid's parent made a $30,000 payment …
Ronan Farrow / New Yorker:
The National Enquirer, a Trump Rumor, and Another Secret Payment to Buy Silence  —  Late in 2015, a former Trump Tower doorman named Dino Sajudin met with a reporter from American Media, Inc., the publisher of the National Enquirer, at a McDonald's in Pennsylvania.
Prez Love Child Shocker!  Ex-Trump Worker Peddling Rumor Donald Has Illegitimate Child  —  Fake news or an Oval Office bombshell?  You be the judge.  —  PRESIDENT Donald Trump fathered a secret love child with a Trump Organization employee — a gorgeous 29-year-old medical graduate who is currently living in California!
New York Times:
Investigators Focus on Another Trump Ally: The National Enquirer  —  President Trump has long had ties to the nation's major media players.  But his connections with the country's largest tabloid publisher, American Media Inc., run deeper than most.  —  A former top executive …
Carol D. Leonnig / Washington Post:
National Enquirer paid second source with embarrassing Trump rumor
Discussion: Raw Story and Joe.My.God.
The Daily Beast:
James Comey: John Kelly Called Trump ‘Dishonorable’ for Firing Me … Within minutes of his firing in May, former FBI Director James Comey received a call from John Kelly, then the head of the Department of Homeland Security and now the White House chief of staff.
Jeff Zeleny / CNN:
Exclusive: Inside the GOP plan to discredit Comey  —  Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump's allies are preparing an extensive campaign to fight back against James Comey's publicity tour, trying to undermine the credibility of the former FBI director by reviving the blistering Democratic criticism …
Brooke Singman / Fox News:
GOP launches aggressive ‘Lyin’ Comey' website ahead of release of former FBI chief's book
Washington Post:
Trump weighs rejoining Trans-Pacific Partnership amid trade dispute with China  —  President Trump told top administration officials Thursday to look at rejoining the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the multination trade agreement he pulled the United States out of shortly after taking office.
Ana Swanson / New York Times:
Trump Reverses Course and Proposes Rejoining Trans-Pacific Partnership  —  WASHINGTON — President Trump, in a stunning reversal, told a gathering of farm state lawmakers and governors on Thursday morning that he was directing his advisers to look into rejoining the multicountry trade deal known …
Discussion: Mother Jones
Jonathan Swan / Axios:
Scoop: Ricky Waddell is leaving the White House  —  Trump's deputy National Security Adviser Ricky Waddell will leave the White House, according to two sources briefed on the decision.  New National Security Adviser John Bolton wants to bring his own person in, and Waddell was H.R. McMaster's hand-picked deputy.
Erica Pandey / Axios:
Trump is flirting with re-entering TPP talks
Discussion: Breitbart
Michael C. Bender / Wall Street Journal:   Trump Asks Advisers to Study Rejoining Pacific Trade Pact Talks
Gabby Morrongiello / Washington Examiner:
Trump directs top economic advisers to look at re-entering TPP
Discussion: National Review and The Week
Burgess Everett / Politico:
Senator: Trump flirting with massive TPP trade pact
Discussion: Mediaite
Ramesh Ponnuru / National Review:
Trump Reconsiders the TPP
Discussion: AOL and Daily Kos
Eric Lipton / New York Times:
Lawmakers' Letter Claims Further Spending Abuses by the E.P.A. Head, Scott Pruitt  —  WASHINGTON — Scott Pruitt, the Environmental Protection Agency administrator, insisted on staying in luxury hotels that were costlier than allowed by government standards, while also pushing to fly on an airline …
Zahra Hirji / BuzzFeed:
A New Bombshell Letter Alleges “Unethical And Potentially Illegal” Acts By EPA Head Scott Pruitt  —  The letter from congressional Democrats comes after an interview with a former staffer to the EPA administrator.  —  A former top EPA official has come forward with allegations of …
Discussion: New Republic, ProPublica, HuffPost and Grist
Washington Post:
Scott Pruitt has four different EPA email addresses. Lawmakers want to know why.
Discussion: Axios and Political Wire
Alex Guillén / Politico:
Former staffer: EPA fired him for refusing to OK first-class flight
Donald J. Trump / The White House:
President Donald J. Trump Proclaims April 12 through April 19, 2018, as the Days of Remembrance …
Discussion: CBS New York
Chris Sommerfeldt / New York Daily News:
Trump federal judicial nominee refuses to say whether she supports racial segregation in schools  —  Brown v. Wendy Vitter?  —  A Louisiana lawyer nominated by President Trump for a federal judgeship refused to affirm whether she's opposed to school segregation during a congressional hearing Wednesday.
Madeleine Marr / miamiherald:
This Parkland teacher left his gun in a public bathroom.  It was loaded, BSO says.  —  Not the most normal sight: a gun left in the bathroom stall.  —  But that's exactly what went down on Sunday in a men's room at the Deerfield Beach Pier.  —  The circumstances of how the Glock 9mm got there are unusual.
Emma Platoff / The Texas Tribune:
Former Texas Congressman Steve Stockman found guilty of 23 felonies  —  A federal jury in Houston has ruled that Steve Stockman, a conservative former Texas congressman, is guilty of all but one charge in his federal fraud trial.  —  Steve Stockman, a former Texas congressman …
Washington Post:
On heels of spending binge, House prepares balanced-budget vote  —  After passing tax cuts and spending that added massively to the deficit, congressional Republicans are preparing to make a show of fiscal austerity by voting for a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution.
Discussion: National Review and Fox News
Karen Hobert Flynn / USA Today:
Bust the budget then vote to balance it: GOP's shameless bid to shred safety net
Discussion: Common Dreams
Aaron Blake / Washington Post:
Mike Pompeo's confusing answer about whether Trump asked him to intervene in the Russia probe … One of the biggest questions hanging over Mike Pompeo's secretary of state nomination is whether he's too willing to do President Trump's bidding.  —  An answer he gave at Thursday's confirmation hearing …
Trump's secretary of state pick faces Senate grilling
Discussion: IJR and Joe.My.God.
Associated Press:
The Latest: Nikki Haley at Pompeo confirmation hearing
Discussion: Axios
Cameron Easley / Morning Consult:
America's Most and Least Popular Senators  —  There's good news and bad news for Senate Democrats up for re-election  — Sanders (I-Vt.) and McConnell (R-Ky.) remains the most popular and unpopular senators, respectively.  —  2018's first quarter was a volatile one for several senators …
Cameron Easley / Morning Consult:
America's Most and Least Popular Governors
Ryan may be forced to leave speakership by summer  —  Paul Ryan said he plans to remain as speaker and not call an early leadership election, but well-wired Republicans tell Jonathan Swan and me that Ryan may be forced out sooner.  —  What we're hearing: One source close to leadership told us …
Robert Costa / Washington Post:
Bannon pitches White House on plan to cripple Mueller probe and protect Trump … Stephen K. Bannon, who was ousted as White House chief strategist last summer but has remained in touch with some members of President Trump's circle, is pitching a plan to West Wing aides and congressional allies …
NBC News:
U.S. officials: Blood samples show nerve agent, chlorine in Syria gas attack  —  WASHINGTON — The U.S. now has blood and urine samples from last Saturday's deadly attack in Syria that have tested positive for chemical weapons, according to two U.S. officials familiar with the intelligence.
Adam SchefterESPN Senior / ESPN:
Seahawks postpone visit after Colin Kaepernick won't say if he'll stop kneeling  —  After arranging for Colin Kaepernick to work out for the Seattle Seahawks this week, team officials postponed the trip when the quarterback declined to say he would stop kneeling during the national anthem next season …
Discussion: AOL, The Root and Deadspin
Rick Wilson / The Daily Beast:
Donald Trump Takes Out Paul Ryan, and 'It's Going to Be a Civil War' … The news that Paul Ryan is retiring from Congress was received by grim-faced members of the GOP caucus finally realizing what they've done, and what's coming.  Ryan pulled the ripcord today after a 19-year career in Congress …
Discussion: The Rush Limbaugh Show and Grist
The Story Behind TIME's ‘Stormy’ Donald Trump Cover  —  Nothing to See Here, Feb. 27, 2017 Stormy, April, 23, 2018 Illustrations by Tim O'Brien for TIME  —  The April 23 TIME cover, depicting the growing chaos within the Trump White House, may look familiar to some readers …
Discussion: Bustle
Jonathan A. Greenblatt / Washington Post:
Don't overlook John Bolton and Mike Pompeo's anti-Muslim ties  —  Jonathan A. Greenblatt is chief executive and national director of the Anti-Defamation League.  —  Other than the president, the two most significant people determining the worldviews of the U.S. government are the secretary of state and the national security adviser.
The Pew Charitable Trusts:
The State Pension Funding Gap: 2016  —  Investment shortfalls, insufficient contributions reduced funded levels for public worker retirement plans  —  Many state retirement systems are on an unsustainable course, coming up short on their investment targets and having failed to set aside enough money …
Discussion: Associated Press
Erick Erickson / The Resurgent:
Diamond, Silk, Facebook, and Facts  —  Facebook has tried several times to reach Diamond and Silk, but the duo have not replied to emails or returned calls.  —  Republicans in Congress have certainly made a lot of hay out of Facebook's handling of the Diamond and Silk situation and I got curious …
Matt Bai / Yahoo:
Fire the special counsel.  Please.  —  Let me put it to you this way, Mr. President.  Who are you going to listen to — the voice of the stable genius inside your head, or the timid voices of experience, the ones that said you'd never win?  —  You know what you want to do.  Just do it already.
Paul Rosenzweig / The Atlantic:
Firing Rosenstein Won't Save Trump  —  Let's be blunt.  Given what we know about President Trump's impulsive nature, there are good odds that sometime soon he will fire the special counsel, Robert Mueller, or perhaps the deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein (who, because Attorney General Jeff Sessions …
Chris Mills / BGR:
Facebook is the least-trusted tech company by a country mile  —  While Mark Zuckerberg spent all day yesterday answering awkward questions about Facebook from his booster seat, Recode published a new poll showing which tech companies are trusted the least when it comes to handling your data.
Discussion: Daily Wire, Recode and The Daily Caller
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 More Items: 
Associated Press:
The Latest: Kremlin spokesman warns against Syria strike
Discussion: Breitbart
Rasmussen Reports:
Daily Presidential Tracking Poll
Discussion: Sean Hannity
Dave Nemetz / TVLine:
Good Fight Video: Margo Martindale Arrives... to Talk Impeaching Trump
Discussion: Breitbart
Natasha Bertrand / The Atlantic:
The Fake Facebook Pages Targeting Vietnam Veterans
Fox News:
Biblical prophecy claims the Rapture is coming April 23, numerologist says
Discussion: BGR, Friendly Atheist and CBS Philly
 Earlier Items: 
Media Matters for America:
Mike Huckabee suggests Republicans order Capitol police to conduct a raid on the FBI
Discussion: Shareblue Media and CNN
James Pearson / Reuters:
U.S. seeks to deport thousands of Vietnamese protected by treaty: former ambassador
Victoria Gill / BBC:
Climate change dials down Atlantic Ocean heating system
Terence P. Jeffrey / CNSNews:
Feds Collect Record Individual Income Taxes Through March; Still Run $599.7B Deficit
Discussion: Sean Hannity
Jill Brooke / Hollywood Reporter:
The Real Story Behind Donald Trump's Infamous “Best Sex I've Ever Had” Headline (Guest Column)
Discussion: The Daily Beast
Brian Bennett / TIME:
Donald Trump Relied on Michael Cohen to Weather the Storm. Now The President Is On His Own
Discussion: Mashable and Mediaite
Wall Street Journal:
Former Trump Advisers Bullish About Second-Term Prospects
Discussion: Breitbart
Brian X. Chen / New York Times:
I Downloaded the Information That Facebook Has on Me. Yikes.