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5:15 PM ET, December 15, 2018


 Top Items: 
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.
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.
Trump's Interior Chief Zinke to Step Down Amid Ethics Probes
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 …
Dan Balz / Washington Post:
As Trump prepares for his holiday respite in Florida, he is more isolated than ever  —  President Trump, more isolated than at any point in his presidency, is scheduled to leave Washington at the end of this week for a holiday respite: two-plus weeks at his Florida resort, Mar-a-Lago.
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
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.
Dan Diamond / Politico:
Obamacare ruling delivers new shock to health system
Discussion: New York Times, ABC News, Vox and Bloomberg
New York Times:
Texas Judge Strikes Down Obama's Affordable Care Act as Unconstitutional
David K. Li / NBC News:
Federal judge in Texas strikes down Affordable Care Act
Democrats Vow Rapid Action After Obamacare Tossed by Judge
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
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
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.
New York Times:   Welcome to Брайт он Бич, Brooklyn
Josh Dawsey / Washington Post:
Trump makes unannounced visit to Arlington National Cemetery  —  President Trump made an unscheduled visit to Arlington National Cemetery on a rainy Saturday, following weeks of criticism for skipping ceremonial visits in the United States and abroad that other presidents have made and for his lack …
Discussion: Political Wire
Andrew Kaczynski / CNN:   VA secretary gave inaccurate answers on pro-Confederate ties during confirmation process
Jordan Crucchiola / Vulture:
Benedict Cumberbatch Is the Man Who Scammed a Nation in the Trailer for HBO's Brexit  —  The swindlers of the world really took things to a new level in 2016, and HBO has a movie that digs into one of the great con jobs in modern political history.  (There was definitely another …
Discussion: Joe.My.God. and Breitbart
New York Times:
How McKinsey Has Helped Raise the Stature of Authoritarian Governments  —  This year's McKinsey & Company retreat in China was one to remember.  —  Hundreds of the company's consultants frolicked in the desert, riding camels over sand dunes and mingling in tents linked by red carpets.
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 …
Discussion: Lawyers, Guns & Money
Alan Judd / myajc:
AJC INVESTIGATION: How Brian Kemp turned warning of election system vulnerability against Democrats  —  In a dead heat with Stacey Abrams, Brian Kemp created a diversion from computer security breakdown  —  Brian Kemp, the Republican candidate for governor, had a problem.
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.
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 More Items: 
Associated Press:
Russia claims US ignoring outreach on nuclear disagreement
Discussion: Axios
Dartmouth Alumni Magazine:
Best of 2018  —  Here are the top 15 most-read stories published …
Discussion: Power Line
New York Times:
New Jersey Democrats Play Power Games Too
Annie Karni / New York Times:
For Kushner, Criminal Justice Has Been a Personal Issue and a Rare Victory
Discussion: The Crime Report and 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
 Earlier Items: 
Washington Post:
Drenched city: 2018 is now Washington's wettest year ever recorded.
Discussion: NPR
Spencer Kornhaber / The Atlantic:
Bruce Springsteen Explains It All
New York Times:
Star Economist at Harvard Faces Sexual Harassment Complaints
Pamela Brown / CNN:
Mueller continues to be interested in interviewing Trump
Discussion: HuffPost, POLITICUSUSA and Mediaite
Jackie Speier / San Francisco Chronicle:
Strange real estate deal raises specter of Putin buying Trump
Discussion: Raw Story
Anna Silman / The Cut:
The Real Sex Lives of Historical Queens