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9:55 AM 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 …
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
Mike Allen / Axios:
Trump's “reality tremor” as Mueller fallout piles up  —  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.
Associated Press:
Some Trump allies starting to worry about investigations  —  WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump's intensifying legal troubles are unnerving some of his fellow Republicans.  Despite his brash stance, they believe the turmoil has left him increasingly vulnerable as he gears up for what is sure to be a nasty fight for re-election.
Discussion: Shareblue Media
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: ThinkProgress, Raw Story and Vox
Caitlin Oprysko / Politico:
Trump denies that he's having trouble finding a chief of staff
Discussion: ABC News and Axios
Bob Brigham / Raw Story:   ‘The bottom is going to fall out’: White House reporter says Republicans are privately discussing abandoning Trump
Paul Waldman / Washington Post:
Smart Republicans are already abandoning Trump. But they're still culpable.
Discussion: The Atlantic and Raw Story
Washington Post:
‘There was no Plan B’: Trump scrambles to find chief of staff after top candidate turns him down
The Hill:
Meadows looks to make his move
Discussion: The Daily Beast and Daily Wire
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 …
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 …
Eun Kyung Kim /
TIME's 2018 Person of the Year: ‘The Guardians and the War on Truth’  —  Four journalists and one newspaper “are representative of a broader fight by countless others around the world.”  —  A group of journalists whose work has landed them in jail — or cost them their lives — have been named TIME's Person of the Year for 2018.
Time Person of the Year: ‘The Guardians and the War on Truth’  —  (CNN)Time magazine has chosen “The Guardians,” a group of journalists who have been targeted for their work, as Person of the Year.  —  A series of four black-and-white covers highlights what the magazine calls “the War on Truth.”
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 …
Carrie Johnson / NPR:
Maria Butina, Accused Of Being Russian Agent, Reaches Plea Deal With Feds
Laurence H. Tribe /
Constitution rules out a sitting president's immunity from criminal prosecution  —  Only President Trump seems not to have noticed — or at least refuses to acknowledge — that the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, in his Dec. 7 memo regarding Michael Cohen's sentencing …
Discussion: Raw Story
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.
Byron York / Washington Examiner:
Sudden shift in get-Trump talk; now it's campaign finance, not Russia
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
Discussion: New Republic, Raw Story and Axios
Jill Lawrence / USA Today:
You don't bring a novice to a knife fight.  That's why Democrats need Nancy Pelosi.  —  Everything that happens next year in the House amounts to a Democratic audition — and platform — for the 2020 presidential, Senate and House elections.  —  CONNECT  —  Nancy Pelosi is running …
Pelosi, rebels discuss limiting her time as speaker to 4 years
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 …
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 …
Washington Post:
Accused of rape, former Baylor fraternity president gets no jail time after plea deal  —  A former Baylor University fraternity president who was accused of rape will not serve any jail time or be forced to register as a sex offender after a judge accepted a plea deal he had been offered by Texas prosecutors, according to news reports.
Jason Silverstein / CBS News:   Former Baylor frat president indicted for sexual assault will serve no jail time
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 …
David M. Herszenhorn / Politico:
Jean-Claude Juncker: EU won't renegotiate Brexit deal
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 …
Jackie Salo / New York Post:
9-year-old kills self after racist taunts from class: family … A black 9-year-old girl in Alabama allegedly took her own life after facing relentless bullying and racism in class, according to reports.  —  McKenzie Adams' relatives said she hanged herself Dec. 3 in her home in Linden …
Robert D. McFadden / New York Times:
Evelyn Berezin, 93, Dies; Built the First True Word Processor  —  Evelyn Berezin, a computer pioneer who emancipated many a frazzled secretary from the shackles of the typewriter nearly a half-century ago by building and marketing the first computerized word processor, died on Saturday in Manhattan.
Wall Street Journal:
New York Touted Real Estate, Eminent Domain in Bid for Amazon  —  World Trade Center, Midtown among areas also pitched before Long Island City was picked  —  In their bid for Inc.'s second headquarters, New York City and state officials dangled prime real estate at the tech giant …
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 …
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.
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 More Items: 
Wall Street Journal:
CBS Directors Fear Legal Risks from Leaks in Moonves Probe
Discussion: Talking Points Memo
Silvia Sciorilli Borrelli / Politico:
How Macron gave Italian populists a boost
Nicole Russell / Washington Examiner:
‘Supergirl’ now has a transgender character just to be ‘woke’
Washington Post:
That was awkward — at world's biggest climate conference, U.S. promotes fossil fuels
Dakota Smith / Los Angeles Times:
Mayor Garcetti's speech at USC shut down by protesters
Discussion: Breitbart
 Earlier Items: 
John Hinderaker / Power Line:
Trump Administration Undermines Obamacare
Washington Post:
Climate change was behind 15 weather disasters in 2017
Discussion: Common Dreams
Jessica Elgot / The Guardian:
MP causes uproar in parliament by grabbing mace in Brexit protest
Discussion: New York Times and PinkNews
Burgess Everett / Politico:
Cornyn under fire from GOP as criminal justice reform falters
Discussion: Washington Post
Epstein sex abuse victims press judge for decision on tossing his lenient plea deal
Zoe Tillman / BuzzFeed News:
A Former Trump Campaign Staffer Was Ordered To Pay $25,000 For Violating Her Nondisclosure Agreement
Discussion: Raw Story