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1:10 PM ET, December 15, 2018


 Top Items: 
New York Times:
What the Lawless Obamacare Ruling Means  —  It's not based on a solid legal argument.  It's an exercise in raw judicial power.  —  Mr. Adler is a professor of law at the Case Western Reserve University School of Law.  Abbe R. Gluck is a professor of law and the faculty director …
Discussion: Reason and Mother Jones
David Nather / Axios:
You should take the Obamacare ruling seriously  —  The Affordable Care Act, President Obama's signature achievement, may be headed back to the Supreme Court after a conservative federal judge in Texas struck down the individual mandate as unconstitutional last evening.
Discussion: ACA Signups and New York Times
New York Times:
Texas Judge Strikes Down Obama's Affordable Care Act as Unconstitutional  —  WASHINGTON — A federal judge in Texas struck down on Friday the entire Affordable Care Act on the grounds that its mandate requiring people to buy health insurance is unconstitutional and the rest of the law cannot stand without it.
Democrats Vow Rapid Action After Obamacare Thrown Out by Judge  — U.S. judge in Texas dismantles Obama's Affordable Care Act  — Decision threatens health coverage for millions of Americans  —  Obamacare was struck down by a Texas federal judge in a ruling that casts uncertainty …
Amy Goldstein / Washington Post:
Federal judge in Texas rules Obama health-care law unconstitutional  —  A federal judge in Texas threw a dagger on Friday into the Affordable Care Act, ruling that the entire health-care law is unconstitutional because of a recent change in federal tax law.  —  The opinion by U.S. District …
Jeffrey Young / HuffPost:
Federal Judge In Texas Rules Against Obamacare
Discussion: Vox and NPR
Washington Post:
Interior Secretary Zinke resigns amid investigations  —  Interior Department Secretary Ryan Zinke submitted his resignation to the White House Saturday, facing intense pressure from the White House amid multiple probes tied to his real estate dealings in Montana and conduct while in office.
Discussion: Splinter and Political Wire
Trump's Interior Chief Zinke Will Step Down Amid Ethics Probes  — Montanan had been subject of seven internal investigations  — Congressional Democrats vowed to deepen scrutiny in January  —  Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke will leave the Trump administration at the end of the year amid …
Ben Lefebvre / Politico:
Zinke to leave Interior amid scandals  —  Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke will step down by the end of this year, President Donald Trump announced Saturday, making him the latest Trump administration Cabinet official forced to resign amid scandal.  —  The resignation comes after reports …
Shirley Wang / WBUR:
My Dad's Friendship With Charles Barkley 14:24 … Play  —  When Charles Barkley's mother, Charcey Glenn, passed away in June 2015, Barkley's hometown of Leeds, Alabama, came to the funeral to pay respects.  But there was also an unexpected guest.  —  Barkley's friends couldn't quite place him.
Mike Allen / Axios:
Behind the scenes of Mick Mulvaney's move to chief of staff  —  President Trump had a meeting scheduled Monday with a possible candidate for White House chief of staff.  Guess that guy ain't getting it.  —  You can tell so much about West Wing dynamics by the way Trump announced Mick Mulvaney …
The Daily Beast:
Trump's Next Chief of Staff Called Him ‘A Terrible Human Being’ Just Before He Was Elected President  —  Mulvaney left his House seat the next year to serve Trump as both director of the Office of Management and Budget and Acting Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Lee Moran / HuffPost:
Mick Mulvaney Trashes ‘Terrible’ Donald Trump In Newly Resurfaced Video  —  Donald Trump's next acting chief of staff hasn't always had kind words for the president.  —  Donald Trump's next acting White House chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, may have said he was looking forward …
Discussion: Daily Wire, RedState and The Atlantic
Washington Post:
Trump names budget director Mick Mulvaney as acting White House chief of staff
Philip Ewing / NPR:
The Russia Investigations: An Unfinished Case Looks Weaker Than Ever  —  This week in the Russia investigations: Michael Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison ... Maria Butina pleaded guilty ... but the finish line looks no closer  —  The shifting sands
Discussion: Washington Monthly
New York Times:
As the Trumps Dodged Taxes, Their Tenants Paid a Price  —  They were collateral damage as Donald J. Trump and his siblings dodged inheritance taxes and gained control of their father's fortune: thousands of renters in an empire of unassuming red-brick buildings scattered across Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island.
Seung Min Kim / Washington Post:
‘Stop,’ 'I wasn't there,' 'I don't know anything about that': Republicans dodge or dismiss Trump's legal woes  —  The Debrief: An occasional series offering a reporter's insights  —  A reporter hadn't even finished asking about President Trump and the sentencing of his former lawyer Michael Cohen …
Discussion: Raw Story
Andrew E. Kramer / New York Times:
Ukraine Asserts Major Russian Military Buildup on Eastern Border  —  MOSCOW — Ukrainian officials have been raising alarms about what they say is a huge buildup of Russian troops, tanks and artillery pieces along their border that could signal preparations for an invasion.
Associated Press:
Too old to run?  Biden wrestles with age as he eyes 2020 run  —  As he considers running for president, Joe Biden is talking with friends and longtime supporters about whether, at 76, he's too old to seek the White House, according to several sources who have spoken with the former Democratic vice president.
David Siders / Politico:
The left blindsides Beto
Jackie Speier / San Francisco Chronicle:
Strange real estate deal raises specter of Putin buying Trump  —  In July 2008, Donald Trump undertook one of his most infamous transactions.  He sold a mansion in Palm Beach for $95 million to Dmitry Rybolovlev, Russian oligarch and billionaire.  Trump had purchased it four years earlier for $41.35 million.
Discussion: Raw Story
Anna Silman / The Cut:
The Real Sex Lives of Historical Queens  —  Mild spoilers for The Favourite and Mary Queen of Scots below.  —  In 2018, we were treated to two films about historical monarchs that also featured prominent scenes of queer lovemaking.  In The Favourite, set in the early 1700s, two of Queen Anne's …
Pamela Brown / CNN:
Mueller continues to be interested in interviewing Trump  —  (CNN)Special counsel Robert Mueller's team continues to be interested in interviewing the President Donald Trump, two sources familiar with the matter tell CNN.  —  Mueller's stance on interviewing the President has been constant …
Discussion: HuffPost, POLITICUSUSA and Mediaite
Andrew Kaczynski / CNN:
VA secretary gave inaccurate answers on pro-Confederate ties during confirmation process  —  VA secretary praised Confederate president  —  (CNN)Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie gave inaccurate answers to senators during his confirmation process about pro-Confederate speeches he delivered in 2009.
Spencer Kornhaber / The Atlantic:
Bruce Springsteen Explains It All  —  Bruce Springsteen is a phony, and he wants you to know it.  “I've never held an honest job in my entire life,” he shouts early in his one-man stage show, viewable on Netflix Sunday.  “I've never seen the inside of a factory, and yet it's all I've ever written about.
New York Times:
Star Economist at Harvard Faces Sexual Harassment Complaints  —  CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Before he turned 40, Roland G. Fryer Jr. had earned tenure at Harvard, received a MacArthur “genius” grant and won the most prestigious award for young American economists.  He stoked a national debate …
Kyle Cheney / Politico:
FBI releases part of Russia dossier summary used to brief Trump, Obama  —  The FBI released for the first time Friday night a two-page summary former FBI Director James Comey used to brief President-elect Donald Trump nearly two years ago on a so-called dossier about Trump's ties to Russia.
Discussion: CNN and The Daily Caller
Congressman Jerrold Nadler:
Senior House Democrats Send Letter to DHS Inspector General Demanding Answers In Tragedy of 7-Year-Old Girl Who Died in Customs and Border Protection Custody  —  Washington, D.C. - Today, Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee …
Nick Miroff / Washington Post:
Hours before her collapse in U.S. custody, a dying migrant child's condition went unnoticed
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 More Items: 
Annie Karni / New York Times:
For Kushner, Criminal Justice Has Been a Personal Issue and a Rare Victory
Discussion: Politico
Dana Milbank / Washington Post:
The GOP majority's last words: But her emails!
RFE / Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty:
Kasparov: Russia Increasingly Losing Its Standing On World Stage
Discussion: News Agency UNIAN
Jennifer Steinhauer / New York Times:
Trump Kicks Away Obama Traditions Even at the Dinner Table
Liz Sly / Washington Post:
America's hidden war in Syria
Washington Post:
Drenched city: 2018 is now Washington's wettest year ever recorded.
Hollie McKay / Fox News:
Venezuelans regret gun ban, ‘a declaration of war against an unarmed population’
Discussion: Breitbart and Liberty Unyielding
Lindsay Wise / Kansas City Star:
Yoder wants ‘autopsy’ to determine reasons for heavy Republican losses in House
 Earlier Items: 
Kassy Dillon / Daily Wire:
West Virginia University Student Investigated For Border Patrol Halloween Costume
Discussion: The College Fix and RedState
Dow dives about 500 points to its lowest close since May
Andrew M Harris / Bloomberg:
U.S. Fears for Safety of Russian Cooperator Butina, Filing Says
Ted Hesson / Politico:
Ryan pushes for thousands of Irish visas before leaving office
Discussion: Talking Points Memo and Breitbart
Marc Fisher / Washington Post:
THE PARTISAN WARRIOR … What happened to Michael Flynn?