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2:15 PM ET, December 15, 2018


 Top Items: 
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 to 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 …
Lisa Friedman / New York Times:
A Guide to the Ryan Zinke Investigations
Discussion: Politico and BuzzFeed News
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 …
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.
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
Dan Diamond / Politico:
Obamacare ruling delivers new shock to health system
David K. Li / NBC News:
Federal judge in Texas strikes down Affordable Care Act
Jeffrey Young / HuffPost:
Federal Judge In Texas Rules Against Obamacare
Discussion: Vox and NPR
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
Discussion: Daily Wire, RedState and The Atlantic
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.
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
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: Hullabaloo and Raw Story
Elizabeth Bruenig / Washington Post:
My advice to progressives: Don't back down  —  A reductive, but not incorrect view of the Democratic debacle in the 2016 elections holds that when President Trump took office, centrists lost the present and leftists lost the future.  In 2020, Democrats will have a new opportunity …
Associated Press:   Too old to run? Biden wrestles with age as he eyes 2020 run
David Siders / Politico:
The left blindsides Beto
Washington Post:
Mounting legal threats surround Trump as nearly every organization he has led is under investigation  —  Two years after Donald Trump won the presidency, nearly every organization he has led in the past decade is under investigation.  —  Trump's private company is contending with civil suits digging …
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 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.
Liz Sly / Washington Post:
America's hidden war in Syria  —  U.S. troops will now stay in Syria indefinitely, controlling a third of the country and facing peril on many fronts  —  RAQQA, Syria — This ruined, fearful city was once the Islamic State's capital, the showcase of its caliphate and a magnet for foreign fighters from around the globe.
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.
Dana Milbank / Washington Post:
The GOP majority's last words: But her emails!  —  Republicans, in the waning hours of their eight-year reign in the House, are using this precious time to do what they love best: investigating Hillary Clinton's emails.  —  The House Oversight Committee had one last item on this year's calendar …
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
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 More Items: 
New York Times:
New Jersey Democrats Play Power Games Too
Discussion: NJ Spotlight and Washington Post
Annie Karni / New York Times:
For Kushner, Criminal Justice Has Been a Personal Issue and a Rare Victory
Discussion: Politico
Congressman Jerrold Nadler:
Senior House Democrats Send Letter to DHS Inspector General Demanding Answers In Tragedy …
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
Washington Post:
Drenched city: 2018 is now Washington's wettest year ever recorded.
New York Times:
Star Economist at Harvard Faces Sexual Harassment Complaints
Hollie McKay / Fox News:
Venezuelans regret gun ban, ‘a declaration of war against an unarmed population’
Discussion: Breitbart and Liberty Unyielding
 Earlier Items: 
Lindsay Wise / Kansas City Star:
Yoder wants ‘autopsy’ to determine reasons for heavy Republican losses in House
Anna Silman / The Cut:
The Real Sex Lives of Historical Queens
Kyle Cheney / Politico:
FBI releases part of Russia dossier summary used to brief Trump, Obama
Discussion: CNN and The Daily Caller
Andrew Kaczynski / CNN:
VA secretary gave inaccurate answers on pro-Confederate ties during confirmation process
Dow dives about 500 points to its lowest close since May
Dan Alexander / Forbes:
How Wilbur Ross Lost Millions, Despite Flouting Ethics Rules
Ted Hesson / Politico:
Ryan pushes for thousands of Irish visas before leaving office
Discussion: Talking Points Memo and Breitbart