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1:15 PM ET, December 11, 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 …
Mike Allen / Axios:
Trump allies becoming increasingly aware of his legal and political jeopardy  —  Last week's stunning court filings detonated what one official calls a “reality tremor” that has White House officials and key allies increasingly aware of President Trump's rising legal and political vulnerability.
CNN Poll: Approval ratings for Trump, Mueller fall  —  WASHINGTON (CNN)As Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election inches closer to the President, approval of Donald Trump's handling of the investigation has fallen, matching its all-time low in CNN polling.
Discussion: Feeds
Caitlin Oprysko / Politico:
Trump denies that he's having trouble finding a chief of staff
Discussion: ABC News
Alex Daugherty / miamiherald:
Frederica Wilson never got an apology from John Kelly. She got nooses from critics.
Discussion: Splinter and Roll Call
Associated Press:   Some Trump allies starting to worry about investigations
John Wagner / Washington Post:
Kellyanne Conway: Rep.-elect Ocasio-Cortez 'doesn't seem to know much about anything'
Discussion: Politico and Fox News
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 …
Zachary Basu / Axios:
Trump: “I'm proud to shut down the government” over border wall  —  Prior to his meeting with Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Chuck Schumer, President Trump brought reporters into the Oval Office and — in an extended, heated exchange before the cameras — clashed with the two Democratic leaders …
Wall Street Journal:
Trump Suggests Military Will Build Border Wall if Democrats Refuse to Fund It
Discussion: Vox, ThinkProgress and Political Wire
Jim Mone / National Journal:
Emmer, NRCC Start to Rebuild for 2020  —  The incoming chair doesn't think the GOP is doomed in the suburbs or that Trump will be a liability in 2020.  —  Ally Mutnick and Kyle Trygstad  —  ADD TO BRIEFCASE  —  Rep. Tom Emmer spent last Monday in a briefing on an email hack that plagued …
David M. Drucker / Washington Examiner:   House Republicans clash over Trump's role in downfall, look to 2020
Sarah Ferris / Politico:
'I wasn't asking for permission': GOP women put leaders on notice
Discussion: Townhall and Raw Story
Tim Stelloh / NBC News:
Time's 2018 ‘Person of the Year’ is killed and imprisoned journalists  —  Time magazine is spotlighting a handful of journalists who have one thing in common: They were targeted for their work.  —  “The Guardians.”  —  That's what Time magazine is calling the journalists behind 2018's …
Alex Seitz-Wald / NBC News:
Beto O'Rourke narrowly tops wide-open MoveOn 2020 presidential straw poll; Biden runner up  —  The progressive group had backed Bernie Sanders in 2016 over Hillary Clinton.  —  An early straw poll of members of the progressive group shows a wide-open competition for liberal voters …
Discussion: Breitbart, Joe.My.God. and
Erica Orden / CNN:
How Michael Cohen could help the feds get the Trump Organization  —  Feds: Cohen broke the law at Trump's direction  —  New York (CNN)In most respects, Michael Cohen was a frustrating witness for New York investigators.  —  He toyed with, but wouldn't commit to, “full cooperation” with prosecutors, according to court filings.
Discussion: Raw Story
Adam Serwer / The Atlantic:   Trump Can't Stop Confessing
Aaron Blake / Washington Post:
Orrin Hatch and the GOP's contortions to defend Trump
Discussion: CNN, ThinkProgress and Hot Air
Bob Davis / Wall Street Journal:
China Agrees to Reduce Tariffs on U.S. Autos  —  China agreed to reduce tariffs on U.S. autos to 15%, down from 40% currently  —  China agreed to reduce tariffs on U.S. autos to 15%, down from 40% currently, during a phone call with U.S. officials that opened the latest round of trade talks aimed …
Discussion: CNBC
How the IRS Was Gutted  —  An eight-year campaign to slash the agency's budget has left it understaffed, hamstrung and operating with archaic equipment.  The result: billions less to fund the government.  That's good news for corporations and the wealthy.  —  In the summer of 2008 …
Discussion: Mother Jones
Daily Mail:
You've hired me before, Mr President, so hire me again.  I'm the one person whose reputation can't be tarnished by becoming your Chief of Staff and I'm perfectly qualified for the job!  —  I wish to formally apply to be your new Chief of Staff.  —  You might not immediately recognize …
Discussion: Mediaite, AOL and Raw Story
Seung Min Kim / Washington Post:
McConnell to bring up criminal-justice bill for a Senate vote  —  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Tuesday that the Senate will vote on a sweeping overhaul of the criminal justice system that has proven deeply controversial within the Senate Republican ranks.
Chris Mooney / Washington Post:
The Arctic is in even worse shape than you realize  —  The Arctic Ocean has lost 95 percent of its oldest, thickest ice.  If this thinning trend continues, scientists fear an added boost to global warming.  —  Over the past three decades of global warming, the oldest and thickest ice …
Discussion: ThinkProgress
Josh Eidelson / Bloomberg:
Slate's Newly Unionized Writers and Editors Give OK to Strike  — Outlet's editorial staff authorize walkout by 52 to 1 vote  — Company's “right-to-work” stance riles its employees  —  Writers and editors at Slate have voted nearly unanimously to green-light a strike …
Gideon Rachman / Financial Times:
Macron protests show that leading France seems like an impossible job  —  Like most important politicians, Emmanuel Macron is a polarising figure.  —  So Macron-haters have seized upon the unrest in Paris to argue that the French president stands revealed as a massively flawed leader …
Marion Solletty / Politico:
French deficit will increase to finance social measures, says PM
Ronald Brownstein / CNN:
The foundation of Trump's coalition is cracking  —  (CNN)Cracks have emerged in Donald Trump's hold on his core constituency of white working class voters, new data from the 2018 election reveals.  —  Though Republican candidates almost everywhere registered large margins among white voters without …
Annie Snider / Politico:
Trump proposes to roll back decades of water protections  —  The Trump administration on Tuesday initiated the biggest rollback of Clean Water Act protections since shortly after the statute became law in 1972, proposing to remove federal pollution safeguards for tens of thousands of miles of streams and millions of acres of wetlands.
Discussion: ABC News and Associated Press
Benjamin Hoffman / New York Times:
Stephen Curry Doubts Moon Landings.  NASA Offers to Show Him the Rocks.  —  The space agency invited the Golden State star to visit the Johnson Space Center, “perhaps the next time the Warriors are in town to play the Rockets.”  —  It has been a big 24 hours for Stephen Curry.
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 …
Discussion: Observer, New Republic, Axios and Raw Story
Juleanna Glover / Politico:
Biden Should Run on a Unity Ticket With Romney  —  Last summer, John McCain told the world that he regretted not picking Joe Lieberman, the former senator and Democrat, to be his vice presidential running mate in the 2008 presidential election.  A McCain/Lieberman ticket might not have won the White House …
Sam Gillette /
Michelle Obama's Book Sales Hit 3 Million as She Adds New Cities to 2019 Tour: 'I'm So Humbled'  —  Not only is Michelle Obama continuing her book tour after attending former President George H.W. Bush's funeral last week, she's adding new cities to the lineup!
Discussion:, CBS Miami and Joe.My.God.
Rich Lowry / New York Post:
How Theresa May blew Brexit  —  Shakespeare famously wrote of the “sceptered isle” of Britain acting as a moat “against the envy of less happier lands.”  Lately, the less happier lands are winning in a rout.  —  Britain is suffering a political meltdown as it struggles to make good on a historic vote …
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 …
PolitiFact's Lie of the Year: Online smear machine tries to take down Parkland students  —  In the days after 17 people were viciously gunned down at a high school in Florida, the state's Republican governor called for tighter gun laws and President Donald Trump hosted victims' families in the State Dining Room.
Discussion: Joe.My.God.
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 More Items: 
Philip Bump / Washington Post:
The CIA persuaded senators of Saudi prince's guilt. Kushner says no conclusion has been reached.
Discussion: TheStreet and New York Daily News
Ashley Gold / Politico:
Lawmakers clash over claims of Google's anti-GOP bias
Discussion: Breitbart
Ben White / Politico:
Mnuchin doesn't want chief of staff
Discussion: Breitbart and Wall Street Journal
The Daily Beast:
Tulsi Gabbard Is Reaching Out to Staffers for Possible 2020 Run
Theresa May Gets Stuck in Car at Merkel Meeting
Washington Post:
How a powerful Russian propaganda machine chips away at Western notions of truth
Gene Johnson / Associated Press:
Police, FBI probe suspected white supremacist attack on DJ
Discussion: The Root
Jon Swaine / The Guardian:
Iowa considers ethics complaint against Trump's acting attorney general
 Earlier Items: 
Robert D. McFadden / New York Times:
Evelyn Berezin, 93, Dies; Built the First True Word Processor
Jackie Salo / New York Post:
9-year-old kills self after racist taunts from class: family
Nicole Russell / Washington Examiner:
‘Supergirl’ now has a transgender character just to be ‘woke’
Dakota Smith / Los Angeles Times:
Mayor Garcetti's speech at USC shut down by protesters
Discussion: Breitbart
Paul Waldman / Washington Post:
Smart Republicans are already abandoning Trump. But they're still culpable.
Discussion: The Atlantic and Raw Story
Pete Madden / ABC News:
Maria Butina, accused Russian agent, reaches plea deal with prosecutors that includes cooperation