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5:45 PM ET, July 16, 2018


 Top Items:
SASC CHAIRMAN JOHN McCAIN ON TRUMP-PUTIN MEETING  —  Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ), Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, released the following statement today on President Trump's meeting and press conference with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki:
Trump's Helsinki humiliation  —  President Trump's press conference with Vladimir Putin was a disaster.  And that was the assessment of many of his GOP allies.  —  Why it matters: Trump had a chance to assert himself — and stand up for his countrymen — against foreign interference in our elections.
James Fallows / The Atlantic:
This Is the Moment of Truth for Republicans  —  There are exactly two possible explanations for the shameful performance the world witnessed on Monday, from a serving American president.  —  Either Donald Trump is flat-out an agent of Russian interests—maybe witting, maybe unwitting …
Trump's extraordinary press conference was not normal  —  President Trump today, at a press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin, said he didn't see “any reason” why Russia would interfere in the 2016 election, in response to a question on whether he believed Putin or U.S. intelligence agencies.
Greg Sargent / Washington Post:
Trump is now repaying Putin for helping him win the presidency  —  THE MORNING PLUM:  —  The events of the past few days — culminating in President Trump's meeting today with Russian President Vladimir Putin — have rendered this interpretation inescapable: Trump is currently in the process …
Ruth Marcus / Washington Post:
If you work for Trump, quit now  —  Everyone who works for President Trump: Quit now.  Save your souls.  Save your honor, such as it is.  Save your reputation, such as it remains.  Russia attacked our democracy.  Trump has demonstrated repeatedly, and did so again with Russian President Vladimir Putin …
David Morgan / CBS News:
Trump fist-bumped Turkish leader Erdogan, said he “does things the right way”  —  In the days before his summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki Monday, President Donald Trump upset relations with America's allies during a visit to the United Kingdom and a contentious meeting with NATO leaders in Brussels.
Dan Balz / Washington Post:
The moment called for Trump to stand up for America.  He chose to bow.  —  When the history of Donald Trump's presidency is ultimately written, July 16, 2018, will have a special entry.  On a day when the setting called for a show of strength and resolve from an American president …
Discussion: Axios and ABC News
Mark Landler / New York Times:
Trump Sheds All Notions of How a President Should Conduct Himself Abroad  —  WASHINGTON — President Trump made one thing clear after his meeting with President Vladimir V. Putin on Monday: He is willing to take Mr. Putin's word over those of his own intelligence agencies about whether the Russians tried to fix the 2016 election.
David Frum / The Atlantic:
The Crisis Facing America  —  We still do not know what hold Vladimir Putin has upon President Trump, but the whole world has now witnessed the power of its grip.  —  Russia helped Donald Trump into the presidency, as Robert Mueller's indictment vividly details.
Thomas L. Friedman / New York Times:   Trump and Putin vs. America
New York Times:
Republicans Rebuke Trump for Siding With Putin as Democrats Demand Action
Discussion: National Review and CNN
Kate Riga / Talking Points Memo:
Fox News Host Calls Trump's Presser Performance ‘Disgusting,’ ‘Wrong’
Discussion: The Hill and Daily Kos
John Ziegler / Mediaite:
About the Only Evidence Left that Trump Isn't Beholden to Putin is That It's Just Too Obvious
Margaret Sullivan / Washington Post:   After a stunning news conference, there's a newly crucial job for the American press
Ezra Klein / Vox:
Trump and Putin: what we know is damning
New York Times:
Trump, Putin and the ‘Incredible Offer’: Live Updates
Justin Wise / The Hill:
‘Fox & Friends’ host: 'I don't understand' Trump tweet blaming US for bad Russia relations
Discussion: Vox and Mediaite
Politico:   POLITICO Playbook Power Briefing: Everything you need to know about Trump and Putin's joint appearance
Steve Benen / MSNBC:
In disastrous press conference, Trump defended Putin, blasted Americans
Discussion: Bloomberg, CNN and Washington Post
Tara Golshan / Vox:   Trump says the Electoral College is advantageous to Democrats. But he is president because of it.
Washington Post:
Ahead of Putin summit, Trump faults U.S. ‘stupidity’ for poor relations with Russia
U.S. Department of Justice:
Russian National Charged in Conspiracy to Act as an Agent of the Russian Federation Within the United States  —  A criminal complaint was unsealed today in the District of Columbia charging a Russian national with conspiracy to act as an agent of the Russian Federation within …
New York Times:
Mariia Butina, Woman Who Sought ‘Back Channel’ Meeting for Trump and Putin, Is Charged as Russian Agent  —  WASHINGTON — A Russian woman who tried to broker a pair of secret meetings between candidate Donald J. Trump and the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin, during the 2016 presidential campaign …
Discussion: Bloomberg and Talking Points Memo
Washington Post:
Maria Butina, Russian gun rights advocate, charged in U.S. with acting as Russian Federation agent  —  A Russian national with alleged ties to a top Russian official was charged in federal court in Washington Monday with conspiracy to act as an agent of the Russian Federation, and was ordered held without bond.
CBS News:
Trump: “I don't know if I agree” with DNI Coats' warning about Russian cyberattacks  —  President Trump says he doesn't know if he agrees with a warning from Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats about the “critical” threat of potentially devastating cyberattacks targeting U.S. systems.
Garrett M. Graff / Wired:
What Robert Mueller Knows—and 9 Areas He'll Pursue Next
Brian Beutler / Crooked Media:
Trump and Putin Colluded In Public
Discussion: Politico, MSNBC and Hullabaloo
Plutonium went missing in San Antonio, but the government says nothing  —  Losses of civilian nuclear material are usually disclosed but when the government loses nuclear bomb ingredients it stays mum  —  Two security experts from the Department of Energy's Idaho National Laboratory drove to San Antonio …
Emily Crane / Daily Mail:
Bombshell Bourdain interview is published one month after his suicide: Celebrity chef unloads on 'rapey, gropey and disgusting Bill Clinton and hopes Weinstein is ‘beaten to death in jail’  — Anthony Bourdain gave a lengthy, wide ranging interview to journalist Maria Bustillos for her recently launched magazine Popula
Discussion: The Daily Caller
Maria Bustillos / Popula:
Bourdain Confidential  —  Anthony Bourdain had started smoking again …
Michelle Martin / Reuters:
Germany: We can no longer fully rely on U.S. White House  —  BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany's foreign minister said on Monday Europe could not rely on Donald Trump and needed to close ranks after the U.S. president called the European Union a “foe” with regard to trade.
Philip Weiss / Mondoweiss:
Ocasio-Cortez hedges criticisms of Israel- ‘I may not use the right words’  —       —  Rising Democratic star Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the congressperson-to-be for a district in the Bronx and Queens, famously tweeted “This is a massacre,” …
Erin Banco / New Jersey Online:
Seychelles meetings probed by Mueller included several Russians: exclusive  —  Several Russians, some linked to the Kremlin, participated in meetings in the Seychelles in January 2017 and are subjects of an ongoing investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election …
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 More Items: 
Paul Szoldra / Task & Purpose:
Mattis Urged To Consider Award Upgrade For Marine Officer's Heroic Last Stand
Discussion: The Daily Caller
Chavie Lieber / Vox:
Amazon employees are using Prime Day to push for better working conditions
Discussion: Racked, KTLA and Gizmodo
Papa John's Further Shuns Founder, Evicting Him From Offices
Discussion: Breitbart and BloombergQuint
Center for Public Integrity:
Inside John Bolton Super PAC's deal with Cambridge Analytica
Josh Marshall / Talking Points Memo:
The Worst Case Scenario Has Been Obvious for a While
Paul Bond / Hollywood Reporter:
Sacha Baron Cohen Criticized for “Stolen Valor” on Hijacked Billboard Near CBS Offices
Discussion: Breitbart and Louder With Crowder
 Earlier Items: 
Eric Levitz / New York Magazine:
Yes, Normal Republican Elites Are a Threat to Democracy
Discussion: Talking Points Memo
Tory Newmyer / Reuters:
The Finance 202: Trump's trade offensive is producing brutal local headlines
Discussion: Mother Jones