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4:40 PM ET, May 15, 2018


 Top Items: 
The Guardian:
Revealed: Ecuador spent millions on spy operation for Julian Assange  —  Exclusive: Files show at least $5m went on activities including spying on guests at London embassy  —  Ecuador bankrolled a multimillion-dollar spy operation to protect and support Julian Assange in its central London embassy …
The Guardian:   How Julian Assange became an unwelcome guest in Ecuador's embassy
Josh Rogin / Washington Post:
China gave Trump a list of crazy demands, and he caved to one of them … After top Trump officials went to Beijing last month, the Chinese government wrote up a document with a list of economic and trade demands that ranged from the reasonable to the ridiculous.
Greg Sargent / Washington Post:
The truth is about to catch up to Trump.  He has Giuliani to thank for it. … THE MORNING PLUM:  —  Today is the deadline for President Trump to file his financial disclosure form for 2017.  That fact may seem trivially bureaucratic, but lurking at its core is a dilemma for Trump …
John Harwood / CNBC:   President Trump shrinks from another fight with China
S.V. Date / HuffPost:
Trump Orders Help For Chinese Phone-Maker After China Approves Money For Trump Project
Daniel W. Drezner / Washington Post:
President Trump just blinked on China
Ben Mathis-Lilley / Slate:
Report: China Has Committed $500 Million to Indonesian Development That Will Include Trump Hotels …
Discussion: Washington Post, IJR and Political Wire
Dave Lawler / Axios:
North Korea threatens to cancel Trump summit  —  North Korea has cancelled talks with South Korea scheduled for Wednesday, and threatened to cancel next month's summit between President Trump and Kim Jong-un over joint U.S.-South Korean military drills, according to South Korean news agency Yonhap.
Steve Cortes / Washington Examiner:
Trump's winning streak rivals one of the greatest streaks in sports  —  John Wooden, perhaps the best basketball coach of all-time, once led his UCLA Bruins to 88 straight wins over three seasons in the early 1970s, still an NCAA men's record.  That streak, plus 10 national championships …
Fox News:
North Korea threatens to cancel US meeting over American military drills with South Korea, Yonhap says  —  North Korea announced it has canceled a high-level summit with South Korea and has threatened to cancel its meeting with the United States over American military drills with South Korea, Yonhap News said, citing KCNA.
ABC News:   North Korea threatens to withdraw from summit with Trump: Report
New York Times:
Tom Wolfe, Pyrotechnic Nonfiction Writer and Novelist, Dies at 87  —  Tom Wolfe, an innovative journalist whose technicolor, wildly punctuated prose brought to life the worlds of California surfers, car customizers, astronauts and Manhattans moneyed status-seekers in works like …
Matt Schudel / Washington Post:
Tom Wolfe, apostle of ‘New Journalism’ who captured extravagance of his times, dies at 88
Discussion: Outside the Beltway
Shane Harris / Washington Post:
U.S. identifies suspect in major leak of CIA hacking tools … The U.S. government has identified a suspect in the leak last year of a large portion of the CIA's computer hacking arsenal, the cyber tools the agency had used to conduct espionage operations overseas, according to interviews and public documents.
Louis Nelson / Politico:
Nikki Haley blames Hamas for violence in Gaza  —  U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said Tuesday that the relocation of the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem was not to blame for deadly violence that erupted along the Gaza border, casting blame instead on Hamas and its backers in the Iranian government.
MJ Lee / CNN:
Qatari investor confirms he attended Trump Tower meetings in 2016  —  Washington (CNN)A Qatari investor referenced in a series of tweets from Michael Avenatti this week confirmed to CNN through a spokesperson on Tuesday that he did attend meetings at Trump Tower in December 2016.
Michael Balsamo / Associated Press:   Stormy Daniels' crowdfunding raises transparency questions
Washington Post:
Trump administration preparing to shelter migrant children on military bases  —  The Trump administration is making preparations to warehouse migrant children on military bases, according to Defense Department communications, the latest sign the government is moving forward with plans to split up families who cross the border illegally.
John Parkinson / ABC News:
Disgraced former congressman Blake Farenthold won't repay $84K sexual harassment settlement  —  Former Rep. Blake Farenthold, the disgraced Texas Republican who resigned last month in the aftermath of a sexual harassment settlement, has secured his next paid gig - as a government lobbyist.
Jennifer Bendery / HuffPost:
Not An Onion Story: Blake Farenthold Gets A New Job Lobbying Congress
Discussion: Roll Call and Washington Examiner
Washington Post:
Key Democrat backs Haspel for CIA director after she says interrogation program should not have been started  —  Gina Haspel appears to have secured enough votes to be confirmed as the country's next CIA director after stating in a letter to a top Democrat that the agency never …
Haspel says CIA should not have conducted interrogation program
Eric Geller / Politico:
White House eliminates top cyber adviser post  —  The Trump administration has eliminated the White House's top cyber policy role, jettisoning a key position created during the Obama presidency to harmonize the government's overall approach to cybersecurity policy and digital warfare.
Trump's lawyer falsely claimed in 2017 interview that Trump Organization had no recent activity in Russia  —  (CNN)President Donald Trump's longtime personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, claimed in a January 2017 interview that the Trump Organization had no recent relationship with Russia …
Alex Kantrowitz / BuzzFeed:
Twitter Is Going To Limit The Visibility Of Tweets From People Behaving Badly  —  Act like a jerk, and Twitter will start limiting how often your tweets show up.  —  On Tuesday, Twitter announced a massive change to the way its conversations will work, evaluating not just the content of individual tweets …
Two Colleagues Contradict Brennan's Denial of Reliance on Dossier  —  Former CIA Director John Brennan's insistence that the salacious and unverified Steele dossier was not part of the official Intelligence Community Assessment on Russian interference in the 2016 election is being contradicted by two top former officials.
Tony Briscoe / Chicago Tribune:
Federal lawsuit accuses Obama center organizers of pulling an ‘institutional bait and switch’  —  The design for the Obama Presidential Center in Jackson Park was unveiled May 3, 2017.  —  A federal lawsuit filed by a Chicago nonprofit in an attempt to block the Obama Presidential Center …
Discussion: Breitbart and IJR
Kaitlan Collins / CNN:
In leaky West Wing, not even a phone ban can stop embarrassing disclosures  —  Washington (CNN)The dustup over a White House aide's crass remark about Sen. John McCain's health has once again inflamed the White House's frustration with staffers who reveal the inner workings of the West Wing to reporters outside the building.
Joe Pinsker / The Atlantic:
The Ivy League School That Won't Talk About Its Most Famous Graduate  —  For 176 years, William Henry Harrison was the only president the University of Pennsylvania had any kind of claim on, and even then it was kind of a stretch.  As a student, Harrison did a brief stint at Penn, but he didn't stay long enough to get a degree.
Discussion: Raw Story
Garrett M. Graff / Wired:
The Untold Story of Robert Mueller's Time in Combat  —  Robert Mueller's job is to make sense of how Russia hacked the 2016 election.  But to make sense of Mueller, you have to revisit some of the bloodiest battles of Vietnam.  —  ONE DAY IN the summer of 1969, a young Marine lieutenant …
Discussion: Politico
Sarah Lyall / New York Times:
For Meghan Markle's American Family, a Relentless U.K. Glare  —  It is notoriously hard to escape your background in Britain, no matter how successful you are or how much your life has diverged from that of your relatives.  And so the British tabloids have for some months been treating …
Allegra Kirkland / Talking Points Memo:
How The Greitens Prosecution Collapsed  —  On Monday morning, Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens sat in a St. Louis courtroom watching potential jurors answer questions about allegations that he attempted to blackmail his one-time lover.  —  By late afternoon, the case had collapsed.
Alex Isenstadt / Politico:
GOP golden boy mails it in  —  Republicans worry that Josh Hawley, the party's top Senate recruit, is squandering his opportunity to beat vulnerable Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill.  —  FENTON, Mo. — As GOP Rep. Ann Wagner prepared to introduce candidates in a Republican Senate debate here Friday …
Discussion: Splinter
Jerry Iannelli / Miami New Times:
Conservatives Freak Out at Miami Cheesecake Factory Over MAGA Hat Incident … A brave, free-speech MAGA warrior is under attack, America.  Eugenior Joseph, a Miami native and former Westwood Christian School basketball star, says he walked into the Cheesecake Factory at Dadeland Mall …
Jeff Baillon / KMSP:
Millions of dollars in suitcases fly out of MSP, but why?  —  MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - For five months, Fox 9 has been investigating what appears to be rampant fraud in a massive state program.  —  This fraud is suspected of costing Minnesota taxpayers as much as $100 million a year.
Emily Smith / Page Six:
Bill O'Reilly in talks to return to cable news  —  Bill O'Reilly is in talks to head back to cable news in his old 8 p.m. slot, but this time at Newsmax TV, sources exclusively tell Page Six.  —  A year after O'Reilly's abrupt exit from Fox News, where he was the top-rated host in cable news …
Maxwell Tani / The Daily Beast:
Fox News Host Exits His Company Over Support for Trump … A top nonpartisan political crowdfunding site on Tuesday cut ties with its CEO, a Fox News weekend host, and temporarily suspended all fundraising on its platform for Republican candidates.  —  In a post, entitled …
Discussion: Crowdpac, Raw Story and Mediaite
David Bauder / Associated Press:
AP to offer election voter survey to replace exit polls  —  NEW YORK (AP) — The Associated Press said Tuesday that it will begin conducting an elaborate election voter survey designed to replace the traditional in-person exit poll, which has been criticized in recent years for inaccuracy …
Benjamin Mueller / New York Times:
Mayor de Blasio Vows to Slash Marijuana Enforcement: ‘We Will End Unnecessary Arrests’  —  Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Tuesday that the New York Police Department would have a plan within 30 days to slash arrests for marijuana possession, though he did not provide any details about how enforcement would change.
Discussion: Daily Kos and Vox
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 More Items: 
Avery Anapol / The Hill:
GOP Georgia governor candidate bringing ‘Deportation Bus Tour’ to state's sanctuary cities
Discussion: Hullabaloo and Joe.My.God.
Jenna Amatulli / HuffPost:
Meet The First Openly Trans Man To Graduate From Spelman College
Adam Kredo Follow / Washington Free Beacon:
Iranian Ayatollah: ‘We Will Turn Tel Aviv And Haifa To Rubble’
Discussion: Daily Wire
Andrew McIntosh / Seattle Business Journal:
Russia moves to sell jets to Iran after Trump exit from nuclear deal sinks Boeing's deals
Nell Scovell / The Cut:
David Letterman Just Can't Figure Out Why He Never Had Women Writers
Cristiano Lima / Politico:
Trump warns of ‘dangerous anti-police prejudice’
Discussion: ABC News and Breitbart
Rachel Leven / Center for Public Integrity:
What Scott Pruitt's been doing while you weren't looking
 Earlier Items: 
Washington Post:
In this town, you can flip the channel all you want — the news is often the same
Outcry in Mali after albino child beheaded in ‘ritual’ murder
David Brooks / New York Times:
The American Renaissance Is Already Happening
Trump Nominates McConnell and Chao's Brother-In-Law to Lead Pension Agency
Henry Goldman / Bloomberg:
Bharara Weighs Independent Bid for New York Attorney General
Discussion: Political Wire
Eugene Robinson / Washington Post:
‘Real’ Americans are a myth. Don't you dare buy it.