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11:00 PM ET, December 10, 2018


 Top Items: 
New York Times:
After Ayers Turns Down Chief of Staff Job, Trump Is Left Without a Plan B  —  WASHINGTON — President Trump has often bragged about having his pick of only the best people to serve in his administration.  —  Being publicly rejected by his first choice for chief of staff …
Jim Acosta / CNN:
Trump concerned about being impeached, sees it as a ‘real possibility,’ source says  —  (CNN)President Donald Trump has expressed concern that he could be impeached when Democrats take over the House, a source close to the President told CNN Monday.  The source said Trump sees impeachment as a “real possibility.”
Discussion: Vox and The American Spectator
Gabriel Sherman / Vanity Fair:
“It Got Back to Trump That Kelly Was Bad-Mouthing Him”: After Firing John Kelly on Impulse, Trump Learned He Had No Plan B  —  Hyper-ambitious wunderkind Nick Ayers led Trump on, then left him in the lurch.  So who now?  Meadows?  Mnuchin?  Bossie?  Berman?  Reince Priebus!?!
Bob Brigham / Raw Story:
‘The bottom is going to fall out’: White House reporter says Republicans are privately discussing abandoning Trump  —  Donald Trump is facing “looming problem” as Republicans contemplate abandoning the president as more evidence of wrongdoing comes to light, Los Angeles Times White House …
Kaitlan Collins / CNN:
Amid chief of staff search, Trump increasingly anxious over political future  —  Washington (CNN)While President Donald Trump and Nick Ayers were still in the middle of negotiations about him replacing John Kelly as chief of staff, Trump had already given Ayers a task, according to a source familiar with the discussion.
Washington Post:
‘There was no Plan B’: Trump scrambles to find chief of staff after top candidate turns him down  —  President Trump had no Plan B.  —  After announcing the exit of his chief of staff, John F. Kelly, and being turned down by his pick to replace him, Nick Ayers, Trump found himself Monday …
Jonathan Chait / New York Magazine:
Everybody Says Mueller Is Almost Done. What If He Isn't?
The Hill:
Meadows looks to make his move
Discussion: The Daily Beast and Daily Wire
Wall Street Journal:   Thank You, John Kelly
Greg Sargent / Washington Post:
Trump's latest rage-tweets expose the depth of his own corruption
Discussion: Mediaite, New York Times and Bloomberg
CNN:   GOP shrugs at Trump's involvement in Cohen payments
Byron York / Washington Examiner:
Sudden shift in get-Trump talk; now it's campaign finance, not Russia
Discussion: Hit & Run and Shareblue Media
Rahm Emanuel / The Atlantic:   Trump Doesn't Want a Chief of Staff
Streiff / RedState:
President Trump Is Going To Be Impeached the Question Is How Much Damage It Does
Discussion: Feeds and New York Times
Pete Madden / ABC News:
Maria Butina, accused Russian agent, reaches plea deal with prosecutors that includes cooperation  —  Maria Butina, a 30-year-old Russian gun rights activist who stands accused developing a covert influence operation in the United States, has agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy and cooperate with federal …
Betsy Woodruff / The Daily Beast:
Maria Butina Agrees to Cooperate With U.S.  —  Butina has inked an agreement with prosecutors and becomes the first Russian since the 2016 election to confess to a crime connected to efforts to influence American politics.  —  Betsy Woodruff  —  Maria Butina, a Russian national …
Discussion: ABC News and Talking Points Memo
Accused Russian spy Maria Butina appears to reach plea deal  —  Washington (CNN)Accused Russian spy Maria Butina appears to have reached a plea deal with federal prosecutors.  —  Butina is accused of trying to infiltrate Republican political circles and party leaders during the 2016 campaign …
Discussion: Vox
Anna Massoglia /
NRA leader, Jack Abramoff and GOP operative tied to alleged Russian spy Maria Butina have long history …
Discussion: Shakesville
Washington Post:
We are former senators.  The Senate has long stood in defense of democracy — and must again.  —  By 44 Former U.S. Senators  —  As former members of the U.S. Senate, Democrats and Republicans, it is our shared view that we are entering a dangerous period, and we feel an obligation to speak …
Discussion: Politico, CNN and Political Wire
Kenneth P. Vogel / New York Times:
Targets of U.S. Sanctions Hire Lobbyists With Trump Ties to Seek Relief  —  WASHINGTON — On a July evening, Trump administration officials and allies, including the president's personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, gathered with investors atop the Hay-Adams hotel overlooking the White House …
Coral Davenport / New York Times:
Trump Prepares to Unveil a Vast Reworking of Clean Water Protections  —  The proposed new rule would chip away at wetlands safeguards put in place during the administration of President George H.W. Bush.  —  TRUMP ADMINISTRATION  —  As Trump Turns to Sanctions, One Group Earns Big Paydays: Lobbyists
Jennifer Rubin / Washington Post:
Jared Kushner did what?  —  The New York Times reports: … As a preliminary matter, we should recognize this as yet another example of why a president should not put a relative in a position of power — especially if the relative possesses questionable judgment and is utterly unqualified for the job.
Discussion: Shareblue Media, CNN and Mediaite
Sarah Aziza / Washington Post:   Saudi Arabia's brutal treatment of female reformers should have woken us up long ago
Tablet Magazine:
In an email to Tablet the Women's March wrote: … But whatever concerns were popping up were ultimately no match for the steamroller of the event's progress.  And when the day came, the reality far exceeded expectations.  Estimates for the March on Washington range between half a million …
Discussion: Daily Wire and
Lachlan Markay / The Daily Beast:
Sources: Dan Bongino Out at NRATV  —  Trump loves the guy.  But the gun rights group is downsizing its media operation and his show appears to be a casualty of those plans.  —  The National Rifle Association's media arm has dropped pro-Trump firebrand Dan Bongino from its lineup …
Lachlan Markay / The Daily Beast:
Dan Bongino Out at NRATV
Epstein sex abuse victims press judge for decision on tossing his lenient plea deal  —  Victims of accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, who have waged a decade-long fight for justice, on Monday pressed a federal judge to finally take action on their motion to throw out a controversial plea agreement …
Matt Donnelly / Variety:
Academy Looks Warily at Oscar Host Options As Board Meeting Looms  —  Kevin Hart's abrupt departure as Oscars host has left the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences scrambling to find someone to take the gig.  As of now, the situation remains fluid as the group's leadership explores options …
Adam Cancryn / Politico:
Establishment looks to crush liberals on Medicare for All  —  The united front that helped Democrats save Obamacare just a year ago is falling apart over single-payer health care.  —  Deep-pocketed hospital, insurance and other lobbies are plotting to crush progressives' hopes of expanding …
Discussion: Hot Air and Washington Post
Alex Thompson / Politico:   LinkedIn co-founder backs $35 million voter data project in ‘existential threat’ to Democratic Party
Harry Enten / CNN:
An insane amount of people turned out to vote in the midterm elections  —  (CNN)President Donald Trump solved a problem that no other president before him could: Getting people to vote in a midterm election.  —  Whether they were voting for or against his agenda, it is now clear that voters turned out in record numbers in 2018.
Washington Post:
Hateful conspiracies thrive on YouTube, despite pledge to clean up ‘problematic’ videos  —  A year after YouTube's chief executive promised to curb “problematic” videos, it continues to harbor and even recommend hateful, conspiratorial videos, allowing racists, anti-Semites and proponents …
David Badash / Alternet:
Harvard law professor issues scathing takedown of DOJ policy that bars prosecutors from indicting a sitting president  —  This Harvard law professor believes Trump can be indicted and should be.  —  Laurence Tribe  —  Laurence Tribe is a constitutional law professor at Harvard Law School.
Discussion: Raw Story
Gary Fineout / Associated Press:
Thousands of mailed ballots in Florida were not counted  —  TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida officials say thousands of mailed ballots were not counted because they were delivered too late to state election offices.  —  The Department of State late last week informed a federal judge …
Discussion: Splinter and Seymour Tribune
Zoe Tillman / BuzzFeed News:
A Former Trump Campaign Staffer Was Ordered To Pay $25,000 For Violating Her Nondisclosure Agreement  —  WASHINGTON — Jessica Denson, a former staffer for President Donald Trump's campaign, is fighting an order to pay nearly $25,000 for violating a nondisclosure agreement, according to court papers.
Discussion: Raw Story
F.H. Buckley / New York Post:
Why ‘No Hate Here’ signs are actually pretty hateful  —  My walks with my dog take me to a quiet off-street, with middle-class houses made expensive because they're inside the Beltway.  Their owners are mostly youngish attorneys who work as assistant-deputy-director-somethings in some government department or other.
Andy Kroll / Rolling Stone:
Talk About Pizzagate  —  The former Clinton campaign chairman is among the victims still recovering from a vile conspiracy theory that ended in gunfire  —  WASHINGTON — John Podesta has given it a lot of thought and believes the best way to deal with the trolls is to ignore them.
Russell Gold / Wall Street Journal:
Harvard Quietly Amasses California Vineyards—and the Water Underneath  —  Making a bet on climate change, the university's $39 billion endowment has been snapping up farmland and the related water rights  —  SHANDON, Calif.—Steve Sinton, a rancher, was baffled when a company he'd never heard …
Sarah Smith / Fort Worth Star-Telegram:
Hundreds of sex abuse allegations found in fundamental Baptist churches across U.S.  —  Joy Evans Ryder was 15 years old when she says her church youth director pinned her to his office floor and raped her.  —  “It's OK.  It's OK,” he told her.  “You don't have to be afraid of anything.”
New York Times:
With Power Grabs in the Midwest, G.O.P. Risks a 2020 Backlash  — The party, which lost four key governorships in the Midwest, depends on its gerrymandered districts in the region for a trove of seats in Congress and legislatures.  — The Republicans' post-election legislative maneuvers …
Will Sommer / The Daily Beast:
YouTube Bans Proud Boys Founder Gavin McInnes  —  YouTube banned Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes on Monday, marking the latest social-media blow for the man who started the far-right men's group.  McInnes had amassed more than 220,000 subscribers on YouTube before the ban …
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 More Items: 
Jessica Elgot / The Guardian:
MP causes uproar in parliament by grabbing mace in Brexit protest
Laura Loomer / Big League Politics:
Google Approves App For Muslims To Report People Who Commit Blasphemy
Nicole Acevedo / NBC News:
Faith leaders to U.S. authorities: Migrants have international right to U.S. asylum
Discussion: Townhall and New York Times
Burgess Everett / Politico:
Cornyn under fire from GOP as criminal justice reform falters
Discussion: Washington Post
Elizabeth McLaughlin / ABC News:
Russia sends bombers to Venezuela amid country's economic, humanitarian crisis
Discussion: Task & Purpose
David French / National Review:
Republicans Must Reject ‘Russia Hoax’ Conspiracies and Examine the Evidence
Discussion: Washington Post and NPR
 Earlier Items: 
Alex Kotch / Sludge:
Beto Got $430,000 From Individuals in Oil and Gas. Should We Care?
Discussion: Splinter
The Babylon Bee:
Heisman Winner Proves If You Work Hard And Believe In Yourself, You Too Can Have Journalists Try …
Victor Davis Hanson / American Greatness:
Defeat and the Dossier Explain Everything
Jared Holt / Right Wing Watch:
YouTube's Biggest Personality Promoted an Anti-Semite
Discussion: The Verge
Lolita C. Baldor / Associated Press:
US starts to withdraw troops from Trump border mission
Discussion: Joe.My.God. and Splinter
Suyin Haynes / TIME:
TIME Announces 2018 Person of the Year Shortlist on Today Show