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11:50 AM ET, April 26, 2018


 Top Items: 
Kevin Robillard / HuffPost:
Here's The White House Questionnaire For GOP Candidates Who Want Trump's Backing  —  It asks about immigration, Pakistan and trade.  —  The White House has a few questions for candidates in Republican primaries hoping for President Donald Trump's endorsement.  —  Do you support ending foreign aid to Pakistan?
New York Times:
White House Withdraws Jackson Nomination for V.A. Chief Amid Criticism  —  WASHINGTON — The White House withdrew the nomination of Dr. Ronny L. Jackson, the White House physician, to lead the Veterans Affairs Department on Thursday after lawmakers went public with a torrent of accusations leveled …
Louis Nelson / Politico:
Trump: Tester has a ‘big price to pay’ over VA nominee's withdrawal  —  President Donald Trump said Thursday that Sen. Jon Tester should “have a big price to pay” with voters this November for his role in the controversy surrounding Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, the president's pick to be the secretary …
Pruitt fears White House undermining him ahead of hearings  —  Republicans wants answers from EPA chief  —  Washington (CNN)Embattled Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt believes members of the administration are actively trying to get rid of him, two sources with knowledge of the situation tell CNN.
Discussion: Salon, HuffPost and The Daily Caller
Washington Post:   Ronny Jackson withdraws as nominee to lead Veterans Affairs after wave of misconduct allegations
Nicholas Fandos / New York Times:
New Allegations Emerge Against Ronny Jackson as White House Digs In
Washington Post:
VA nominee considers withdrawing as new allegations emerge of drinking, wrecking government vehicle
Washington Post:
Scott Pruitt heads to Capitol Hill as White House probes signal his shaky status
Discussion: Axios, Splinter and The Daily Caller
Ronny Jackson withdraws as VA Secretary nominee
Discussion: Washington Times and CNN
Quint Forgey / Politico:
Trump says Cohen ‘represented me’ in Stormy Daniels scandal  —  Donald Trump said Thursday that attorney Michael Cohen “represented me” by cutting a deal with porn star Stormy Daniels in 2016, after the president previously said he didn't know about the “hush money” payment.
Jordan Fabian / The Hill:
Trump on Cohen: ‘Nothing to do with me’  —  on Thursday sought to distance himself from Michael Cohen, his longtime personal attorney who is embroiled in a federal criminal investigation.  —  “This has nothing to do with me,” Trump said during an interview on “Fox & Friends.”
Discussion: RedState and Political Wire
New York Times:
Michael Cohen to Take Fifth Amendment in Stormy Daniels Lawsuit  —  Michael D. Cohen, President Trump's longtime personal lawyer, will invoke his Fifth Amendment right in a lawsuit filed against the president by Stephanie Clifford, the pornographic film star better known as Stormy Daniels.
Philip Rucker / Washington Post:
Trump says for first time that Cohen represented him in Stormy Daniels case
Discussion: Mother Jones
Jacqueline Thomsen / The Hill:
Cohen to plead the Fifth in Stormy Daniels lawsuit
Discussion: RedState, CNBC and Politico
Brooke Singman / Fox News:
Trump says Comey ‘guilty of crimes,’ warns DOJ he won't ‘stay away’ forever  —  President Trump, in a fiery exclusive interview with “Fox & Friends,” blasted former FBI Director James Comey on Thursday morning as a “liar and a leaker” who is “guilty of crimes” — while issuing a stern warning …
Rebecca Morin / Politico:
Trump says he may change his mind on not getting involved in DoJ's Russia probe
Discussion: Washington Post
Dana Blanton / Fox News:
Fox News Poll: Mueller likely to find Trump offenses, Trump likely to fire him
Associated Press:
Senate committee poised for vote on bill to protect Mueller
Discussion: Axios and Politico
Washington Post:
Giuliani reopens negotiations about presidential interview with Mueller, but cautions special counsel …
Rebecca Ballhaus / Wall Street Journal:   Trump Lawyers Seek to Determine Whether Mueller Has ‘Open Mind’
Lee Fang / The Intercept:
Secretly Taped Audio Reveals Democratic Leadership Pressuring Progressive to Leave Race  —  Steny Hoyer, the No. 2 Democrat in the House of Representatives, has for years been a prolific campaigner on behalf of current and potential members of Congress.  It was no surprise, then …
NBC News:
Trump's biggest problem might be the competency question  —  First Read is your briefing from Meet the Press and the NBC Political Unit on the day's most important political stories and why they matter  —  WASHINGTON — This morning, President Trump's pick to head the Department …
Kevin D. Williamson / Washington Post:
Kevin Williamson: The punishment I favor for abortion  —  Kevin D. Williamson is a Texas-based writer.  —  As a libertarian, I fully accept the motto that what a woman chooses to do with her own body is her business.  As someone who can count, I believe that abortion involves two bodies.
Damon Young / The Root:
Kanye West Doesn't Care About Black People  —  Last year Panama Jackson, a man who, in the 14 years that we've known each other, has become one of my best friends, published a piece about his mother's support of Donald Trump, and revealed how that ruined his relationship with her.
Kyle Kondik / Sabato's Crystal Ball:
Raising the Ceiling, but Not the Floor, on Potential Democratic House Gains  —  Playing field widens even as odds of turnover don't change  —  KEY POINTS FROM THIS ARTICLE  — The number of potentially vulnerable Republican seats is growing, and we're adding an extra 10 GOP-held seats to the Likely Republican column this week.
Discussion: New York Times
Sarah Mimms / BuzzFeed:
The Center For American Progress Staff Was Shocked After Neera Tanden Named The Anonymous Harassment Victim In An All-Staff Meeting  —  The meeting comes after BuzzFeed News reported on allegations of sexual harassment and retaliation against those who reported at the progressive organization.
Bob Christie / Associated Press:
Arizona's only black legislators chastised after race talk  —  PHOENIX (AP) — The only two black members of the Arizona Legislature were formally chastised for speaking out against a Republican lawmaker's published column, which included a racial slur and they say derided black activists …
New York Times:   We Are Republican Teachers Striking in Arizona. It's Time to Raise Taxes.
Bret Stephens / New York Times:
Bush 41, Trump, and American Decline  —  George H.W. Bush once vomited on the prime minister of Japan.  It was a mortifying but innocent incident, the result of a nasty stomach bug.  Donald Trump has spent the last couple of days effectively doing likewise on France's Emmanuel Macron.
Ian Mohr / Page Six:
Tina Brown wants no part of Charlie Rose's #MeToo redemption series  —  Disgraced CBS anchor Charlie Rose is being slated to star in a show where he'll interview other high-profile men who have also been toppled by #MeToo scandals.  —  The move was revealed by editor, writer and women's advocate Tina Brown …
Unpacking the Other Clinton-Linked Russia Dossier  —  A copy of the little-publicized second dossier in the Trump-Russia affair, acquired by RealClearInvestigations, raises new questions about the origins of the Trump investigation, particularly about the role of Clinton partisans and the extent …
Alexi McCammond / Axios:
Exclusive poll: GOP Senate seats threatened in Arizona, Nevada  —  Data: SurveyMonkey poll conducted April 2-23, 2018.  Poll Methodology; Note: “No answer” responses not shown; Chart: Axios Visuals  —  Democrats have a real shot at winning two of the three Senate seats where Republicans …
Scott Calvert / Wall Street Journal:
Hit-and-Run Fatalities Soar as More People Bike to Work  —  Report finds close to 70% of fatalities are cyclists or pedestrians  —  Hit-and-run crash deaths are rising nationwide, and pedestrians and bicyclists account for close to 70% of the victims, according to a new report …
Discussion: Front Page Magazine
Lauren Gardner / Politico:
House sets road rules for FAA bill  —  With help from Brianna Gurciullo, Stephanie Beasley and Tanya Snyder  —  ROAD RULES: After a tense day of back and forth over two provisions in the manager's package for the House's FAA reauthorization (H.R. 4 (115)), the ink is finally dry on the package …
Discussion: RedState and Bloomberg
Thomas B. Edsall / New York Times:
Meet the New Boss.  Actually Quite Different From the Old Boss.  —  In the end, the wheelers and dealers faded away, trying to get what they could under cover of darkness.  Their loss of stature was abrupt.  Only those willing to soldier on as subordinates remained, ceding authority to their leader, President Trump.
U.S. weekly jobless claims fall to lowest level since 1969  —  WASHINGTON, (Reuters) - New applications for U.S. unemployment benefits dropped to their lowest level in more than 48 years last week, suggesting that March's slowdown in job growth was probably temporary.
Discussion: Sean Hannity
The Daily Beast:
Joy Reid's Lawyer: FBI Now Investigating Alleged ‘Hack’  —  MSNBC weekend host Joy Reid's lawyer claimed Wednesday evening that the FBI has opened a probe into her claim that her old blog was hacked to make her appear homophobic.  “We have received confirmation the FBI has opened an investigation …
Nicholas Kristof / New York Times:
Why Does Trump Treat Immigrant Kids Cruelly?  Because He Can  —  A lifetime ago, Anne Frank's family applied for visas to the United States to escape Hitler, but we rejected the Franks and other desperate Jewish refugees.  We thought: This is Europe's problem, not ours, and we don't want to be overrun by “those people.”
Ben Smith / BuzzFeed:
Macron Says Trump Will Likely Kill The Iran Deal  —  US flip-flops on treaties are “insane,” says the French president.  —  BuzzFeed Editor-in-Chief  —  French President Emmanuel Macron believes President Donald Trump will pull out of the Iran nuclear deal as part of “a strategy of increasing tension …
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 More Items: 
Shaun King / The Intercept:
Law Enforcement Groups Gave $420,000 to DA Deciding Whether to Bring Charges Against Cops Who Killed Stephon Clark
Emma Freer / Community Impact Newspaper:
Texas Public Policy Foundation files challenge to Austin's paid sick leave ordinance
Jon Levine / The Wrap:
David Hogg Boycotts Against Vanguard and BlackRock Fall Flat So Far
Discussion: IJR
Daniel Boffey / The Guardian:
Isis trying to foment a wave of migration to Europe, says UN official
Discussion: Jihad Watch
Kevin Breuninger / CNBC:
Trump's allies are drowning in legal fees from the Russia probes
Discussion: National Review
Andrew C. McCarthy / National Review:
Is ‘Guilty Until Proven Innocent’ the New Standard?
Sam Stein / The Daily Beast:
Chuck Schumer to Trump's CDC Director: Start Gun Research NOW
Discussion: Axios and Politico
Corpus Christi Caller-Times:
Gov. Abbott to Blake Farenthold: You pay the cost of the special election to replace you
Discussion: The Daily Caller, RedState and HuffPost
 Earlier Items: 
Patrick McGreevy / Los Angeles Times:
Republicans hope to ride a gas-tax repeal to victory
Shannon Vavra / Axios:
It's not just nukes: What the key players want from North Korea
Emily Saul / Page Six:
Bill Cosby's lawyer falls asleep during testimony
The Daily Beast:
Top Trump Fundraiser Caught Working for Assad Ally
Discussion: Raw Story
NBC News:
Bannon turned Cambridge into ‘propaganda machine,’ whistleblower says
Discussion: Splinter, Political Wire and NBC News
Wall Street Journal:
Classified Report Slams Military Over October Deaths in Niger
Discussion: Defense One and NPR