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4:05 PM ET, December 13, 2018

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 Top Items: 
Aaron Blake / Washington Post:
7 quotes that show how blatant the Trump hush money coverup was  —  President Trump on Thursday tacitly admitted, for the first time, that he directed Michael Cohen to facilitate hush-money payments to two women who had alleged affairs with Trump, Karen McDougal and Stormy Daniels.
Discussion: RedState, Townhall and The Hill
RELATED:
Howard Kurtz / Fox News:
Trump cancels White House Christmas party for the press  —  EXCLUSIVE - President Trump has canceled the White House holiday party for the media, making the decades-old tradition a victim of his increasingly contentious relationship with major news organizations.
NBC News:
Trump confides to friends he's concerned about impeachment  —  Despite public declarations that he's unconcerned, the president has told people close to him he's alarmed about the prospect of impeachment.  —  WASHINGTON — Despite President Donald Trump's public declaration that he isn't concerned …
Caleb Ecarma / Mediaite:
Watch Napolitano Debunk All of Fox & Friends' Trump Defenses: ‘John Edwards Case Actually Hurts the President’  —  As the co-hosts of Fox & Friends rallied to defend their favorite president, as their colleague, senior judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano, continued to confront them with the implication …
Tom Winter / NBC News:
Trump was in the room during hush money discussions, NBC News confirms  —  A source confirms to NBC News that the “other member of the campaign” present when Michael Cohen and David Pecker agreed to silence women was Donald Trump.  —  Donald Trump was the third person in the room in August 2015 …
Tommy Christopher / Mediaite:
Former Apprentice Staffer Claims Trump Was ‘Speed Freak,’ Invited Teen Beauty Queens to His Suite  —  A former staffer on The Apprentice and current stand-up comic named Noel Casler claims that Donald Trump was a “speed freak” who snorted crushed-up Adderall, and also says that Trump invited …
Discussion: Joe.My.God.
Khorri Atkinson / Axios:
Trump uses Congress as excuse on alleged campaign finance violations
Discussion: Political Wire, ABC News and Hullabaloo
RELATED:
Washington Post:
Russian Maria Butina pleads guilty in effort to forge Kremlin bond with U.S. conservatives  —  A Russian gun rights activist pleaded guilty Thursday to conspiring with a senior Russian official to infiltrate the conservative movement in the United States as an agent for the Kremlin from 2015 until her arrest in July 2017.
Discussion: Political Wire and The Mahablog
BuzzFeed News:
Maria Butina Pleaded Guilty To Illegally Trying To Set Up Backchannels With US Officials To Benefit Russia
Discussion: Boing Boing
Matthew Rosenberg / New York Times:   Maria Butina Pleads Guilty to Role in a Russian Effort to Influence Conservatives
Carol Anderson / HuffPost:   The Russians Meddled In Our Democracy, But They Had All-American Help
Erin Banco / The Daily Beast:
Get Ready for Mueller's Phase Two: The Middle East Connection  —  The ‘Russia investigation’ is set to go global.  In court filings due to drop in 2019, prosecutors will unveil Middle Eastern countries' attempts to influence U.S. politics.  —  Over the past year, the indictments, convictions …
Christine Stapleton / Palm Beach Post:
BREAKING: Trump plans 16-day holiday visit to Mar-a-Lago  —  President Donald Trump is expected to spend 16 days at Mar-a-Lago over the Christmas and New Year's holidays, according to an alert issued by the Federal Aviation Administration this morning.  —  The alert warns pilots to avoid …
New York Times:
Senate Votes to Limit War Powers in Yemen, Angered by Saudi Killing of Journalist  —  WASHINGTON — The Senate voted resoundingly on Thursday to withdraw American military assistance for Saudi Arabia's war in Yemen, issuing the latest in a series of stinging bipartisan rebukes of President Trump …
RELATED:
Karoun Demirjian / Washington Post:
Senate votes to condemn Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as responsible for Khashoggi killing
Discussion: Political Wire, Joe.My.God. and Axios
Ana Colón / Glamour:
Nancy Pelosi's Red Coat Was Such a Moment It's Coming Back to Stores in 2019  —  On Tuesday House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer met with President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence in the White House to discuss a proposed wall on the southern border …
RELATED:
Jim Geraghty / National Review:   Nancy Pelosi: Term Limits for Thee, but Not for Me
Ginger Gibson / Reuters:
Pelosi says House Democrats will begin process to obtain Trump tax returns
Discussion: Raw Story
David Corn / Mother Jones:
Did Michael Flynn Try to Strike a Grand Bargain With Moscow as It Attacked the 2016 Election?  —  In early December, special counsel Robert Mueller, in preparation for the upcoming sentencing of Michael Flynn, submitted two memos outlining his recommended punishment for President Donald Trump's former national security adviser.
RELATED:
J. K. Trotter / New York Times:
Chris Hayes's Work Diary: ‘My Life Is an Unceasing Festival of Impatience’  —  The journalist and MSNBC host wakes up to Twitter and ends the day “basically a brain-dead mess.”  —  As told to J. K. Trotter  —  Before he began hosting “All In,” which airs weeknights on MSNBC …
Discussion: Hullabaloo
Nick Corasaniti / New York Times:
Democrats in New Jersey Have a Firm Grip on Power.  They Want Even More.  —  TRENTON — [What you need to know to start the day: Get New York Today in your inbox.]  —  Legislative power brokers across the country have long designed district lines in back-room deals that entrenched their control for years, if not decades.
Associated Press:
Judge tosses suit by Maine GOP congressman who lost election  —  AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — A federal judge rejected a lawsuit Thursday by a Republican incumbent from Maine who lost the nation's first congressional election held under a candidate-ranking system.
RELATED:
Steve Mistler / Maine Public:
Federal Judge Strikes Down Poliquin's Challenge To Maine's Ranked-Choice Voting Law
Discussion: Politico and Hit & Run
New York Times:
The Rise of Right-Wing Extremism, and How We Missed It … Listen and subscribe to our podcast from your mobile device:  —  Despite repeated warnings over the past two decades, federal law enforcement officials in the United States have ignored the threat of violence from far-right extremists.
Discussion: Talking Points Memo
Sam Levin / The Guardian:
'They don't care': Facebook fact-checking in disarray as journalists push to cut ties  —  Journalists paid to help fix Facebook's fake news problem say they have lost trust in the platform  —  Journalists working as fact-checkers for Facebook have pushed to end a controversial media partnership …
Marco Rubio / The Atlantic:
America Needs to Restore Dignity of Work  —  There was once a path to a stable and prosperous life in America that has since closed off.  It was a well-traveled path for many Americans: Graduate from high school and get a job, typically with a local manufacturer or one of the service industries associated …
Discussion: Mother Jones and twitchy.com
RELATED:
Laura Davison / Bloomberg:   After Voting for Tax Law, Rubio Slams It for Helping Corporations Over Workers
Kate Bennett / CNN:
Melania Trump's poll numbers plummet  —  Washington (CNN)Melania Trump's favorable rating has fallen by double-digits, according to a new CNN poll.  The first lady, whose favorability stood at 54% in October, has slipped to 43% in just two months.  —  Additionally, 36% of those polled found …
Discussion: AOL and Splinter
Carl Hulse / New York Times:
It Took Quite a Push, but McConnell Finally Allows Criminal Justice Vote  —  WASHINGTON — I was wrong about Mitch McConnell.  —  I doubted he would ever put a criminal justice measure that divided Republicans and ran counter to his conservative political instincts on the floor for a vote.
Discussion: Hit & Run
Rob Picheta / CNN:
Foul-mouthed Santa horrifies parents  —  (CNN)Organizers of a Christmas event have apologized to outraged parents after a fire alarm reportedly prompted Santa Claus to burst out of his grotto, rip off his beard and scream at children to “get the f**k out.”  —  The incident occurred at an event …
Stephen Robinson / Wonkette:
Totally Non-Evil ICE Arrests 170 Immigrants Trying To Save Babies From Baby Jails  —  It's the holiday season, and in between debating the merits of Love Actually and “Baby It's Cold Outside,” you've probably wondered what's going on with all those migrant children the Trump administration separated from their families.
Discussion: NBC News
Department of Homeland Security:
Walls Work  —  WE ARE BUILDING THE FIRST NEW BORDER WALL IN A DECADE.  —  DHS is committed to building wall and building wall quickly.  We are not replacing short, outdated and ineffective wall with similar wall.  Instead, under this President we are building a wall that is 30-feet high.
Jonathan Chait:
Since there seems to be some interest in my position on a New York magazine union, I'll explain my current thinking.  —  My overall view of unions is that they're beneficial for most, but not all, workers.  I understand that many union supporters believe every workplace should be unionized …
Discussion: Splinter
Mark Strassmann / CBS News:
“I blame myself”: Retirement remains out of reach for millions of Americans  —  WAGONER, Okla. — For the first time since the 1940s, Americans are reaching retirement age in worse financial shape than their parents.  An estimated 10 million people older than 65 are still working — a number that has more than doubled since 1985.
Sarah McGregor / Bloomberg:
U.S. Budget Deficit Hits Widest on Record for Month of November  — Federal outlays double revenue collections, Treasury data show  — U.S. ran largest fiscal gap in six years in fiscal 2018  —  The U.S. posted the widest November budget deficit on record as spending doubled revenue.
 
 
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 More Items: 
Tom Balmforth / Reuters:
Captured Ukrainian navy captains tell Russia: we won't testify
Anne Gearan / Washington Post:
Bolton says ‘predatory’ China is outpacing the U.S. in Africa
Discussion: ABC News
Heather Long / Washington Post:
The benefits of this ‘strong economy’ have not reached all Americans
Peter Aldhous / BuzzFeed News:
The Cities Where The Cops See No Hate
Tawnell D. Hobbs / Wall Street Journal:
Down With Homework, Say U.S. School Districts
Will Sommer / The Daily Beast:
In a First, Lawmaker Cites QAnon Conspiracy From City Council Floor
Discussion: Contemptor
Jessica Valenti / Medium:
The $400 Rape … A young woman in Texas found out this week precisely …
 Earlier Items: 
Jacqueline Howard / CNN:
Gun deaths in US reach highest level in nearly 40 years, CDC data reveals
Discussion: Political Wire
Philip Bump / Washington Post:
Trump got Mexico to pay for the wall by simply changing the meaning of ‘pay’ and ‘Mexico’
Adam Harris / The Atlantic:
The Liberal Arts May Not Survive the 21st Century
Andrew McCormick / Columbia Journalism Review:
A law firm in the trenches against media unions
Bret Stephens / New York Times:
When Anti-Zionism Tunnels Under Your House