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1:45 PM ET, July 20, 2018

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 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 …
RELATED:
ABC News:
Cohen taped Trump discussing making hush payment to former Playboy model Karen McDougal: Sources  —  Investigators discovered recordings made by Michael Cohen that include then-candidate Donald Trump talking about making a payment to a former Playboy model, sources familiar with the matter confirmed to ABC News.
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 …
Will Hurd / New York Times:
Trump Is Being Manipulated by Putin.  What Should We Do?  —  Lawmakers must keep the American people informed of the current danger, writes a Republican congressman from Texas.  —  Mr. Hurd, a former C.I.A. officer, is a congressman from the 23rd District of Texas.
RELATED:
Michelle Goldberg / New York Times:
Are Republicans Covering for Trump, or for Themselves?  —  If the N.R.A. was compromised by Russia, the whole party's in trouble.  —  Of all the interlocking mysteries of the Trump-Russia scandal, one that I've found particularly perplexing is the utter servility of congressional Republicans …
Adam Davidson / New Yorker:
A Theory of Trump Kompromat  —  Why the President is so nice to Putin, even when Putin might not want him to be.  —  The former C.I.A. operative Jack Devine watched Donald Trump's performance standing next to Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on Monday, and his first thought was, “There is no way Trump is a Russian agent.”
Discussion: CANNONFIRE
Blake Hounshell / Politico:
Why I'm No Longer a Russiagate Skeptic  —  Facts are piling up, and it's getting harder to deny what's staring us in the face.  —  When I wrote, back in February, that I was skeptical that President Donald Trump would ever be proved to have secretly colluded with Russia to sway the 2016 election in his favor, I mistyped.
Discussion: Raw Story and CNN
Edward Luce / Financial Times:
Henry Kissinger: ‘We are in a very, very grave period’  —  It was not hard to entice Henry Kissinger to meet for lunch.  Though he is 95, and moves very slowly, the grand consigliere of American diplomacy is keen to talk.  He hops on and off planes to see the likes of Russia's Vladimir Putin …
Jeff Cox / CNBC:
Trump says he's ‘ready’ to put tariffs on all $505 billion of Chinese goods imported to the US  — President Donald Trump has indicated he is willing to put tariffs on all $505 billion of Chinese goods the U.S. imports.  — The rhetoric marks ramps up the U.S-China trade war another step …
RELATED:
Caitlin Owens / Axios:
Trade war shakes up Senate races in Trump states
Discussion: CNBC
Media Matters for America:
Study: NY Times, Wash. Post quote more than twice as many Republicans as Democrats in political coverage  —  Throughout May and June, two of the nation's leading newspapers, The New York Times and The Washington Post, quoted Republicans at more than twice the rate of Democrats in their political news coverage.
Discussion: Observer
RELATED:
NBC 6 South Florida:
Father of Parkland School Shooting Survivors Killed in North Lauderdale Armed Robbery  —  North Lauderdale Robbery Surveillance Video  —  The father of two Parkland school shooting survivors was fatally shot at his own North Lauderdale convenience store during a robbery, according to the Broward County Sheriff's Office.
New York Times:
Bill Shine, Trump's Top Communicator, Was Questioned by Federal Prosecutors  —  WASHINGTON — Bill Shine, a former co-president of Fox News hired this month as President Trump's communications chief, brought conservative credentials and heavy baggage with him into the White House.
Jim Morrill / The Charlotte Observer:
GOP picks Charlotte for 2020 convention.  Now, the fundraising and organizing begin.  —  Charlotte won its second national convention in a decade Friday, kicking off two years of planning, fundraising and anticipation.  —  The city joined a small group of cities that will have held …
RELATED:
Washington Post:   Republicans will hold 2020 convention in Charlotte, putting city back in spotlight after hosting the Democrats in 2012
Oliver Darcy / CNNMoney:
Fox News' Kimberly Guilfoyle leaving the network to hit campaign trail with Donald Trump Jr.  —  Kimberly Guilfoyle, a Fox News host and longtime network personality, plans to leave her role at the cable news channel, two people familiar with the matter said.
RELATED:
Yashar Ali / HuffPost:
Kimberly Guilfoyle Did Not Leave Fox News Voluntarily, Sources Say: Scoop
Discussion: twitchy.com
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: Axios
Politico:
McConnell issues Supreme Court ultimatum  —  The Senate GOP leader is vowing to squeeze Democrats with a vote on Brett Kavanaugh right before the midterms if they don't back down on their demand for documents.  —  Mitch McConnell has a warning for Democrats demanding copious documents …
RELATED:
Robert Barnes / Washington Post:
Russian firm indicted in special counsel probe cites Kavanaugh decision to argue that charge should be dismissed
Discussion: Talking Points Memo
RELATED:
Joe Scarborough / Washington Post:
Republicans should be repulsed
Discussion: CNN and Mediaite
Molly Hensley-Clancy / BuzzFeed News:
Centrist Democrats Want A Presidential Candidate To Take On Bernie.  They Just Don't Know Who It Is.  —  At a centrist Democrats' conference in Columbus, Ohio, the burning question was how to create an economic message that could beat two people in 2020 who have crystal clear economic messages: Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders.
RELATED:
Gabriel Debenedetti / New York Magazine:   The Progressive Hawaii Senator Reshaping the 2020 Race, Without Even Running
Scott Waldman / E&E News:
GOP candidate calls woman ‘naive’ for asking about climate  —  Body heat is making Earth warmer, and climate change is caused by the planet's movement toward the sun.  —  Those are the claims of Pennsylvania's Republican gubernatorial candidate, former state Sen. Scott Wagner.
Jessica Sager / Page Six:
Roseanne Barr on Valerie Jarrett tweet: ‘I thought the b—h was white’  —  Roseanne Barr spoke out relatively unapologetically about the vile Valerie Jarrett tweet that got her “Roseanne” reboot canceled: “I thought the b—h was white!”  —  In a video posted to Barr's YouTube page …
Discussion: The Root and Althouse
Scott Johnson / Power Line:
The Brennan factor revisited  —  Following former Obama administration CIA Director John Brennan on Twitter, we see his animus nakedly on display.  He is demented by hatred.  Is this really the public role a former Director of the CIA is to be playing?  Below is his most recent effusion on Twitter.
BuzzFeed News:
Congratulations, Mr. President: Zuckerberg Secretly Called Trump After The Election  —  In the days following Donald Trump's election victory over Hillary Clinton, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg placed a secret, previously unreported call to the president-elect during which, sources told BuzzFeed News …
Jerry Gretzinger / WNYT-TV:
Home Depot employee says he was fired after responding to customer's racist rant  —  ALBANY - Is the customer always right?  The Times Union reported Thursday morning that a Home Depot employee at the Central Avenue store in Albany was fired after what he considers pretty nasty verbal abuse from a customer.
Discussion: Raw Story and The Root
Bloomberg:
Where the Super-Rich Go to Buy Their Second Passport  —  Cheaper than a Gulfstream, nimbler than a superyacht, a second passport—or a third or fourth—has become another trophy for the ultra-wealthy.  —  Even self-styled citizens of the world, it seems, need a Plan B. Plus, that gold Maltese coat of arms looks classy.
Discussion: AOL
Joyce Cohen / New York Times:
Graduating to Their First Big City Rental  —  For two young newcomers, having “the full New York City experience” meant finding a happy medium between uptown gloss and downtown grit.  —  Two years ago, Alexi Stathakis and Lauren Witonsky met as summer interns at a public relations firm.
Robin Pogrebin / New York Times:
She Gave Millions to Artists Without Credit.  Until Now.  —  The artist Carrie Mae Weems recalls sitting at her desk in Syracuse in 2014 “feeling very anonymous and misunderstood and trying to figure out how to make some new work” when she got the call.  —  “I was offered this extraordinary gift,” she said.
Ben Kamisar / NBC News:
Young voters make up significant portion of new registrations in key states since Parkland shooting  —  Young voters are flocking to register to vote in key battleground states in the wake of the February school shooting at a Parkland, Fla. high school, according to a new analysis from Democratic data firm TargetSmart.
Libby Watson / Splinter:
Government Healthcare Is Saving My Mum's Life  —  My mother has lung cancer.  At the end of last year, she began feeling breathless and tired, struggling with walks around the village I grew up in; in March, we found out a tumor was to blame.  —  When she was diagnosed …
Hollywood Reporter:
Paramount TV President Amy Powell Fired Over Inappropriate Comments  —  She was tapped to oversee the division in 2013 and has delivered hits including ‘13 Reasons Why’ and ‘The Alienist.’  —  Five years after being tapped to lead the newly relaunched Paramount Television banner, Amy Powell is out.
Megan Garber / The Atlantic:
The World Burns.  Sarah Sanders Says This Is Fine.  —  On Wednesday, two representatives of the United States government held press briefings, both of them touching on one of the most astonishing news stories of the Trump presidency—a series of events that had begun two days earlier …
Tim Ryan / CNN:
Rep. Tim Ryan: Marijuana should be legal in all 50 states  —  Tim Ryan, a Democrat, is the US Representative for Ohio's 13th congressional district.  The views expressed are his own.  View more opinion articles on CNN.  —  (CNN)The year Donald Trump was elected President …
Daily Mail:
Seventeen dead and seven injured after duck-boat carrying 31 - including at least three children - CAPSIZES on stormy Missouri lake, as final video shows its battle to stay afloat  — The boat was carrying 31 people when aggressive storms rolled over the area and thrashed the waves
 
 
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 More Items: 
Myrna Pérez / New York Times:
How the Midterm Elections May Be Compromised
Kyle Cheney / Politico:
Dems plan longshot gambit to force action on Mueller protection bill
Discussion: The Gateway Pundit
Benny Johnson / The Daily Caller:
Obama Attacks Wealthy For Big Houses Before Returning To His $8 Million Mansion
Ryan P. Williams / RealClearPolicy:
Do We Really Need a New Conservatism?
Discussion: Real Clear Politics
Ricochet:
The Left Gives Up on Comedy
Rosie Perper / Business Insider:
Trump flags and hats made in China are reportedly being held up at customs as trade war heats up
Discussion: Raw Story
 Earlier Items: 
Jay Nordlinger / National Review:
Tiny, Faraway Countries and Us
Matthew Continetti / Washington Free Beacon:
Why NATO Matters  —  Column: The Atlantic alliance is crucial to American deterrence
Todd S. Purdum / The Atlantic:
The Worst Russia Blunder in 70 Years
Terry Gross / NPR:
Reporter Shows The Links Between The Men Behind Brexit And The Trump Campaign
Associated Press:
US, allies set to evacuate Syrian aid workers from southwest
Lachlan Cartwright / The Daily Beast:
New York Times, NBC, and ‘60 Minutes’ Bigwigs Hired These Media Assassins to Fight #MeToo Stories
John Hinderaker / Power Line:
Our Country Is Insane  —  I am by nature an optimist …