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3:10 PM ET, December 17, 2018


 Top Items: 
New York Times:
Russian 2016 Influence Operation Targeted African-Americans  —  The Russian influence campaign on social media in the 2016 election made an extraordinary effort to target African-Americans, used an array of tactics to try to suppress turnout among Democratic voters and unleashed a blizzard …
David McCabe / Axios:   Senate-commissioned reports show scale of Russian misinformation campaign
Instagram Was Bigger Russian Election Tool Than Facebook, Senate Report Says
Rachel Weiner / Washington Post:
Michael Flynn's business partner charged with illegally lobbying for Turkey  —  A business partner of Michael Flynn is being charged with acting as an agent of a foreign government and conspiracy for attempting to get Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen extradited from the United States.
U.S. Department of Justice:
Two Men Charged with Conspiracy and Acting as Agents of a Foreign Government  —  An indictment was unsealed today charging Bijan Rafiekian, aka Bijan Kian, 66, of San Juan Capistrano, California, and Kamil Ekim Alptekin, 41, of Istanbul, and a Turkish national, with conspiracy …
Discussion: Law & Crime
New York Times:
Former Michael Flynn Business Associates Indicted in Turkey Lobbying Case  —  WASHINGTON — Two former business associates of Michael T. Flynn, President Trump's first national security adviser, have been indicted as part of a federal investigation into Turkey's secret 2016 lobbying campaign …
Discussion: New Republic, Axios, emptywheel, CNN and Mediaite
Associated Press:
Prosecutors charge 2 involved in Flynn's Turkish lobbying
Discussion: Politico and NBC News
United States Senator Lamar Alexander:
Alexander Statement on 2020 Senate Election  —  NASHVILLE, Tenn., December 17, 2018 - United States Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today released the following statement:  —  “I will not be a candidate for re-election to the United States Senate in 2020.
Joel Ebert / The Tennessean:
Tennessee US Sen. Lamar Alexander will not seek re-election in 2020  —  After roughly a quarter century in elected office, U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander will retire.  —  The former Republican governor, who has served in the Senate since first being elected in 2002, said Monday that he will not seek a fourth term in the upper chamber.
Discussion: HuffPost and Conservative Review
Burgess Everett / Politico:
Sen. Lamar Alexander will not run for reelection
Discussion: Vox
Gary Baum / Hollywood Reporter:
Woody Allen's Secret Teen Lover Speaks: Sex, Power and a Conflicted Muse Who Inspired ‘Manhattan’  —  In 1976, 16-year-old model Babi Christina Engelhardt embarked on a hidden eight-year affair with the 41-year-old filmmaker that mirrors one of his most famous movies.
Discussion: Daily Wire
Aidan McLaughlin / Mediaite:
Napolitano Corrects Wall Street Journal on Fox Business: FBI Agents Did Not Entrap Mike Flynn  —  Fox News senior judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano dismissed claims that FBI agents “entrapped” former national security adviser Michael Flynn when they interviewed him at the start of the Trump administration.
Discussion: CNN and Raw Story
John Harwood / CNBC:   Most Americans want action on climate change. Republicans are the exception: Poll
Aaron Blake / Washington Post:
The ‘Michael Flynn is an innocent hero’ conspiracy theory suffers a major setback
Yair Rosenberg / Tablet Magazine:
The New York Times Just Published An Unqualified Recommendation For An Insanely Anti-Semitic Book  —  The book, recommended by author Alice Walker, repeatedly cites the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, dubs the Talmud “among the most appallingly racist documents on the planet,” and says Jews funded the Holocaust and control the KKK
Will Sommer / The Daily Beast:
Witches to Trump: Stop Calling the Mueller Investigation a ‘Witch Hunt’  —  The witch community is tired of the president invoking the worst moment in their history to serve his political needs.  —  It may, on the surface, seem like a harmless way to trivialize Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation …
Discussion: and Breitbart
Timothy L. O'Brien / Bloomberg:
How Donald Trump Got Caught in a Legal Vise
Kyle Cheney / Politico:
Pelosi tries to buy Mueller time
Discussion: Raw Story and The Federalist
Luciano Guerra / Washington Post:
I voted for Trump.  Now his wall may destroy my butterfly paradise.  —  The Republican party is abandoning the conservative principles I treasured.  —  Right now, in Mission, Tex., we don't worry about immigrants who crossed the border illegally or drug smugglers.
Discussion: Raw Story
Margaret Sullivan / Washington Post:
It's high time for media to enter the No Kellyanne Zone — and stay there  —  Lies are coming at the American public in torrents — raining down on them everywhere they turn.  —  A report prepared for the Senate Intelligence Committee, and obtained by The Washington Post, made that breathtakingly clear over the weekend.
Adam Wren / Indianapolis Monthly:
Pete Buttigieg Has His Eye On The Prize  —  Can South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg work the angles to become a dark-horse presidential contender in 2020?  —  To know Pete Buttigieg is to watch him play a skill crane game, the joystick-guided, mechanical claw-driven pastime found in video arcades …
Sam Stein / The Daily Beast:
Trump Previously Lined the Pockets of His Democrat Defender Mark Penn
POLITICO Playbook PM: The shutdown puzzle pieces
Discussion: Bloomberg and ABC News
Glenn Greenwald / The Intercept:
A Texas Elementary School Speech Pathologist Refused to Sign a Pro-Israel Oath, Now Mandatory in Many States — so She Lost Her Job  —  A children's speech pathologist who has worked for the last nine years with developmentally disabled, autistic, and speech-impaired elementary school students in Austin …
Suddenly everyone is defending the Affordable Care Act  —  Now that federal Judge Reed O'Connor has ruled the entire Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional — since Congress zeroed out the penalty tied to the mandate to buy health insurance — the health care law once again has to show it has an extra life in its back pocket.
Wall Street Journal:
Texas ObamaCare Blunder
Discussion: Raw Story
Garrett M. Graff / Wired:
A Complete Guide to All 17 (Known) Trump and Russia Investigations  —  WHILE POPULAR MEMORY today remembers Watergate as five DNC burglars leading inexorably to Richard Nixon's resignation two years later, history recalls that the case and special prosecutor's investigation at the time was much broader …
Holly Otterbein / Politico:
Pennsylvania meltdown triggers Republican alarms  —  PHILADELPHIA — A GOP implosion in Pennsylvania has Republicans alarmed about President Donald Trump's reelection prospects in a state that proved essential to his 2016 victory.  —  The enfeebled state party — still reeling …
Discussion: Talking Points Memo and Raw Story
Susan B. Glasser / New Yorker:
How Trump Made War on Angela Merkel and Europe  —  The German Chancellor and other European leaders have run out of patience with the President.  —  This past July, on the final day of the nato summit in Brussels, Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, proposed a closed-door emergency meeting.
Discussion: Politico
Alan Dershowitz / The Hill:
Did Michael Flynn lie?  Or did the FBI act improperly?  —  The media is asking the wrong question about the Michael Flynn case.  They are asking whether Flynn lied or the FBI acted improperly, as if the answers to those two questions are mutually exclusive.
It's Round Two on Capitol Hill: Comey vs. House Republicans
Discussion: Talking Points Memo
Vivian Wang / New York Times:
Cuomo to Push Legalizing Recreational Marijuana in New York by Early 2019  —  [What you need to know to start the day: Get New York Today in your inbox.]  —  Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced that he would push to legalize recreational marijuana next year, a move that could bring …
Marina Fang / HuffPost:
Gov. Andrew Cuomo Calls For Legalization Of Recreational Marijuana In New York
Jason Zengerle / New York Times:
These Democrats Will Soon Have the Power to Investigate the White House.  How Far Will They Go?  —  In two weeks, congressional Democrats will return to Washington with the authority to investigate a White House that is suspected of foreign collusion, conflicts of interest and mismanagement of the federal government.
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 More Items: 
Pew Research Center:
Most Voters Have Positive Views of Their Midterm Voting Experiences
USA Today:
Americans' message to Washington on the looming shutdown: Don't
Discussion: Shareblue Media
Sarah McCammon / NPR:
Evangelical Writer Kisses An Old Idea Goodbye
Discussion: Raw Story and Althouse
Jim Geraghty / National Review:
Who's Equipped to Hold the Trump Coalition Together?
Discussion: Power Line
Martin Crutsinger / Associated Press:
After the Fed's likely rate hike this week, all bets are off
Michael Brice-Saddler / Washington Post:
His fiancee was killed on a run in Logan Circle. He was left with the rest of his life.
Chuck Ross / The Daily Caller:
Michael Cohen Adviser Deals Major Blow To The Steele Dossier
Caitlin Oprysko / Politico:
Coons: Trump sounds ‘more like a mob boss than president’ with Cohen attacks
Discussion: Breitbart
 Earlier Items: 
Karol Markowicz / New York Post:
Soaring suicides are another sign of our toxic social disconnect
Reid J. Epstein / Wall Street Journal:
California Upends 2020 Democratic Primary Calendar
Discussion: Talking Points Memo
Walter Dellinger / Washington Post:
Should we be able to indict a sitting president? Consider Spiro Agnew.
Discussion: Washington Monthly
David Siders / Politico:
When they go low, Beto can too  —  EL PASO, Texas …
Aya Batrawy / Associated Press:
Saudi Arabia rejects US Senate's ‘interference’ in kingdom
Jake Sherman / Politico:
It's Boehner's turn: Inside D.C. memoir on the way
Jonathan Chait / New York Magazine:
I Have Seen the Future of a Republican Party That Is No Longer Insane
Discussion: The Mahablog