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12:05 AM ET, July 21, 2018


 Top Items: 
New York Times:
Michael Cohen Secretly Taped Trump Discussing Payment to Playboy Model  —  WASHINGTON — President Trump's longtime lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, secretly recorded a conversation with Mr. Trump two months before the presidential election in which they discussed payments to a former Playboy model …
Washington Post:
In secret recording seized by FBI, Trump and Cohen discuss making payments for story of model who alleged affair with Trump  —  Federal investigators have an audio recording in which then-presidential candidate Donald Trump and his personal attorney Michael Cohen discussed in the fall …
Michael Sykes / Axios:
Trump floats season suspension for NFL players protesting anthem  —  President Trump took to Twitter Friday to call out the NFL on their national anthem policy.  —  The NFL National Anthem Debate is alive and well again - can't believe it!  Isn't it in contract that players must stand at attention, hand on heart?
Manhattan Madam Kristin Davis — Subpoenaed by Robert Mueller  —  EXCLUSIVE  —  Kristin Davis, the Manhattan Madam who went to prison and was connected to former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, is being subpoenaed in the Robert Mueller investigation ... TMZ has learned.
Manuel Roig-Franzia / Washington Post:
Mueller seeking to question ‘Manhattan madam,’ a friend of Roger Stone, in Russia probe, she says
Discussion: CNBC and Mediaite
Mueller team wants to talk to ‘Manhattan Madam’
Discussion: KTLA
Olivia Nuzzi / New York Magazine:
'I Couldn't Stop Laughing.  It's So Ridiculous.' A Surreal Week of Excuse-Making at the White House.  —  It's the end of the week in Washington, and there are some things that we know to be true: It's 83 degrees and partly cloudy, with 47 percent humidity.  At 11:30 a.m., Donald Trump's …
Wall Street Journal:
Trump Digs In Against Criticism on Multiple Fronts  —  A hectic week that began with the controversial Putin summit ends with new tariff threats, public pressure on Fed  —  WASHINGTON—President Donald Trump ended a turbulent week by shrugging off criticism of his dealings with Russia …
Discussion: Raw Story
Erica Werner / Washington Post:
Senate Republicans drop bid to block Trump from helping Chinese telecom giant ZTE
Associated Press:
Trump ready to hit all Chinese imports with tariffs
Wall Street Journal:
Bad Debts, Fraud Claims Trail Boyfriend of Alleged Russian Agent  —  Paul Erickson, a smooth-talking U.S. political activist, was romantically involved with alleged Russian agent  —  They both had secrets.  —  Maria Butina worked clandestinely as an agent of the Russian government …
CNN:   How Mark Sanford met Maria Butina
Paul Waldman / Washington Post:
The entire Republican Party is becoming a Russian asset
Jamil Smith / Rolling Stone:
The NRA Is Awfully Quiet About Maria Butina
Discussion: Task & Purpose
Ben Shapiro / Daily Wire:
So, Here's A Giant List Of All The Dumb Stuff I've Ever Done (Don't Worry, I'll Keep Updating It)  —  This week, in the space of 24 hours, I went from a nice person with good intentions who differs politically from liberals but doesn't bend the truth to a racist, sexist, bigot homophobe …
Discussion: Mediaite and RedState
David French / National Review:
The Sliming of Ben Shapiro
Maggie Haberman / New York Times:
Why I Needed to Pull Back From Twitter  —  The viciousness, toxic partisan anger and intellectual dishonesty are at all-time highs.  —  WASHINGTON — I woke up last Sunday morning feeling anxiety in my chest as I checked the Twitter app on my phone, scrolling down to refresh, refresh, refresh.
Discussion: Mediaite and Splinter
Hollywood Reporter:
James Gunn Fired as Director of ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’  —  The move comes after controversial tweets from the filmmaker were resurfaced.  —  James Gunn is exiting Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.  —  The move comes after conservative personalities resurfaced old tweets Thursday …
Jeremy Shapiro / Foreign Policy:
Trump Is Coming Off as Putin's Poodle, But That Actually Undermines Russia's Main Goal  —  Trump isn't as useful to Putin as one might think.  —  The broad consensus among U.S. and Western commentators is that Vladimir Putin “owned” Donald Trump at the U.S.-Russia summit in Helsinki this week.
Discussion: The Daily Beast, Townhall and Esquire
Abigail Tracy / Vanity Fair:
“There Is a Reason We Tried to Kill This”: After Helsinki, the Deep State Fears Trump Cannot Be Saved
Discussion: Brookings and Foreign Policy
David Lawder / Reuters:
Exclusive: U.S. open to lifting sanctions off aluminum giant Rusal - Mnuchin  —  SAO PAULO (Reuters) - The U.S. Treasury is open to removing Russian aluminum producer Rusal from a U.S. sanctions list, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Friday, adding the objective was “not to put Rusal out of business.”
Jennifer Rubin / Washington Post:
Four reasons we've reached a tipping point on Trump  —  As a preliminary matter, I'm delighted to be back from vacation and back in the United States.  Easily forgotten during the coverage of the incompetent and intellectually corrupted officials who populate this administration are the honorable men …
GOP congressman said blacks have ‘entitlement mentality’ and view themselves as victims  —  GOP rep. defends prior comments on ‘slut’ women  —  (CNN)Republican Rep. Jason Lewis has a long history of racist rhetoric about African-Americans, pushing claims of a “racial war” …
Discussion: Raw Story, Axios and Political Wire
Ryan Faughnder / Los Angeles Times:
Paramount Television President Amy Powell is fired over inappropriate comments  —  Paramount Television President Amy Powell has been fired after making inappropriate comments, the movie and TV studio's Chief Executive Jim Gianopulos told staff Thursday.  —  In a memo obtained by The Times …
BuzzFeed News:
Here Are The Victims Of The Missouri Duck Boat Accident  —  At least 17 people are dead after a tourist duck boat sank during a sudden storm Thursday near Branson, Missouri.  —  Nine members of an 11-person family group from Indianapolis, Indiana, aboard the vessel are among the victims, Gov. Mike Parsons said Friday.
Discussion: FOX59, Springfield News-Leader and AOL
Washington Post:
Senate candidate Corey Stewart says New York Times reporter broke into aide's apartment  —  Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Corey Stewart has accused a New York Times reporter of breaking into the apartment of a campaign aide, saying the “far left media” was trying to undermine his campaign against Sen. Tim Kaine in Virginia.
Discussion: The Daily Caller
Caleb Ecarma / Mediaite:
NY Times Denies Reporter Broke Into Corey Stewart Staffer's Home: His Claim ‘Is Entirely False’
Discussion: The Daily Beast
Erik Wemple / Washington Post:
Ta-Nehisi Coates is leaving the Atlantic  —  Ta-Nehisi Coates is leaving his position as a national correspondent for the Atlantic, a publication where he has emerged as one of the country's top reporters and thinkers.  He has not signed on with a competing publication.
Yashar Ali / HuffPost:
Kimberly Guilfoyle Did Not Leave Fox News Voluntarily, Sources Say: Scoop  —  Sources have told HuffPost about the host's departure from the network.  —  Three sources tell HuffPost that longtime Fox News host Kimberly Guilfoyle did not leave the cable news network voluntarily.
Oliver Darcy / CNNMoney:
Fox News' Kimberly Guilfoyle leaving the network to hit campaign trail with Donald Trump Jr.
NBC News:
Iran has laid groundwork for extensive cyberattacks on U.S., say officials  —  Iran has positioned cyber weapons to hit private firms and infrastructure, but there is no suggestion an attack is imminent, say U.S. officials.  —  ASPEN, Colo. — Iranian hackers have laid the groundwork to carry …
Discussion: AOL, IJR and Axios
Josh Rogin / Washington Post:
Inside the Putin-Netanyahu-Trump deal on Syria
Discussion: Home Page Rotator
The Daily Beast:
Seb Gorka in Talks to Be Salem Radio's New Host, as Network Plots a ‘Coup’ Against Its Trump Critics … Salem Radio Network, a national right-wing news and talk radio operation that's home to prominent conservative voices such as Hugh Hewitt and Lou Dobbs, is looking to bring on Sebastian Gorka …
Max Boot / Washington Post:
How I miss Obama  —  How I miss Barack Obama.  —  And I say that as someone who worked to defeat him: I was a foreign policy adviser to John McCain in 2008 and to Mitt Romney in 2012.  I criticized Obama's “lead from behind” foreign policy that resulted in a premature pullout from Iraq and a failure to stop the slaughter in Syria.
Discussion:, Raw Story and POLITICUSUSA
Washington Post:
Russian operatives blasted 18,000 tweets ahead of a huge news day during the 2016 presidential campaign.  Did they know what was coming?  —  On the eve of one of the newsiest days of the 2016 presidential election season, a group of Russian operatives fired off tweets at a furious pace, about a dozen each minute.
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 More Items: 
Michael Anton / Wall Street Journal:
Why Trump's Detractors Cry ‘Treason’
Immigrant Shelters Drug Traumatized Teenagers Without Consent
Charles Collins / Crux:
Scottish university fires chaplain who called pride parade ‘gross offense to God’
Sapna Maheshwari / New York Times:
Revealed: The People Behind an Anti-Breitbart Twitter Account
Emma Platoff / The Texas Tribune:
Federal government has reunited 450 migrant children over 5, leaving 2,000 still separated
Kyle Rempfer / Military Times:
Ever heard of ‘deep fake’ technology?  The phony audio and video tech could be used to blackmail US troops
Ryan Grim / The Intercept:
A New Corporate Lobbying Firm Is Taking Identity Politics Seriously
 Earlier Items: 
Ben Collins / NBC News:
After years of ‘crisis actor’ smears, Sandy Hook conspiracy targets ask Facebook for ‘seat at the table’
Discussion: MSNBC
Associated Press:
The Latest: Baby reunites with family in Honduras
Marc A. Thiessen / Washington Post:
Trump can shut down his Russia critics with one bold move
Discussion: RedState
Casey Michel / ThinkProgress:
Neo-Confederates reach out to their ‘Russian friends’ in new project
Discussion:, Raw Story and Right Wing Watch
Jenna McLaughlin / CNN:
CIA watchdog withdraws nomination after allegations of retaliation against colleagues
McConnell issues Supreme Court ultimatum