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11:50 AM ET, December 12, 2019


 Top Items: 
2 GOP senators say McConnell will move to acquit Trump, not merely dismiss charges  —  (CNN)Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is expected to hold a final vote to acquit President Donald Trump should he be impeached, when a majority of senators believe his trial has run its course instead …
Melanie Zanona / Politico:
Republican lawmaker asks Lindsey Graham to ‘rethink’ Senate's impeachment strategy
Discussion: Instapundit
Jake Sherman / Politico:
POLITICO Playbook: Do Democrats have a Plan B?
Washington Post:
House Democrats brace for some defections among moderates on impeachment of Trump
New York Times:   An Inside Look at the Impeachment Case's Most Intriguing Moments
Andrew Desiderio / Politico:
Pence rejects calls to declassify new impeachment testimony
Discussion: Talking Points Memo and NBC News
Jennifer Rubin / Washington Post:
Nothing could be more conclusive proof of Trump's guilt
Discussion: Bloomberg
Burgess Everett / Politico:   Trump tightens grips on judges as McConnell wins 50th Circuit pick
Washington Post:
Senate Republicans look to hold short impeachment trial despite Trump's desire for an aggressive defense
Heather Caygle / Politico:
Democrats jostle for prized impeachment manager gig
Discussion: Breitbart
Kyle Cheney / Politico:
GOP Rep. Louie Gohmert publicly identifies person purported to be whistleblower
Discussion: NBC News
Los Angeles Times:   Russia is nowhere and everywhere in the impeachment saga
Eric Holder / Washington Post:
William Barr is unfit to be attorney general  —  Eric H. Holder Jr., a Democrat, was U.S. attorney general from 2009 to 2015.  —  As a former U.S. attorney general, I am reluctant to publicly criticize my successors.  I respect the office and understand just how tough the job can be.
Byron York / Washington Examiner:
Of course the FBI spied on the Trump campaign  —  The great debate about whether the FBI spied on the Trump campaign continues.  The question is why there is still any argument.  The newly-released report from Justice Department inspector general Michael Horowitz shows that by any definition the FBI did indeed spy.
CNN:   FBI agents warn of ‘chilling effect’ from Trump and Barr attacks
E.J. Dionne / Washington Post:   Our country is accepting the unacceptable
Jonathan Chait / New York Magazine:
Report: Trump's Ukraine Extortion Scheme Was Financed by Russia  —  President Trump is facing impeachment primarily for abusing his power for political gain, extorting a foreign country to discredit his political rivals.  The secondary aspect of the plot is that the target of his extortion is hardly random.
Christian Berthelsen / Bloomberg:
Giuliani Ally Parnas Got $1 Million From Russia, U.S. Says  — Prosecutors ask judge to revoke Parnas' bail, send him to jail  — Russia payment raises questions about nature of Parnas' work  —  Rudy Giuliani's associate Lev Parnas got $1 million from an account in Russia in September …
Wall Street Journal:
Giuliani's Partnership With Fraud Guarantee Revealed in Letter  —  A 2018 investor letter offers new clues about the work Rudy Giuliani was hired to do for Fraud Guarantee, a company founded by his now-indicted associates Lev Parnas and David Correia.  The letter has been handed over to the U.S. attorney's office in Manhattan.
ABC News:
President Trump considering adding controversial lawyer Alan Dershowitz to impeachment legal team: Sources  —  Donald Trump is gearing up for his impeachment defense in the Senate.  —  Gearing up for an impeachment trial in the Senate, President Donald Trump and his top advisers …
USA Today:
USA TODAY's Editorial Board: Impeach President Trump  —  The president's Ukraine shakedown and stonewalling are too serious for the House to ignore: Our view  —  “Put your own narrow interests ahead of the nation's, flout the law, violate the trust given to you by the American people …
Discussion: The Moderate Voice
Orlando Sentinel:
The House should vote to impeach Trump, and the Senate should remove him from office
Discussion: The Bulwark, New York Times and DNyuz
Rebecca Traister / The Cut:
Can You Spot the Fake?  Hint: Look at the pundits.  —  The week before the last Democratic primary debate of 2019, a panel of pundits on MSNBC's Morning Joe gathered to make an explicit critique of one of the candidates.  Citing a “whiff of fraudulence,” political writer John Heilemann talked …
Discussion: Washington Post and WFTV
Astead W. Herndon / New York Times:
Elizabeth Warren to Draw Sharp Contrasts With Rivals in New Hampshire Speech  —  Ms. Warren, who has ramped up her criticism of her presidential opponents after months of avoiding conflict, will issue another rebuke Thursday in a speech about the economy and corruption.
Discussion: The Hill and Contemptor
Tim Miller / The Bulwark:
If Trump Is a Unique Danger Why Aren't Democrats Acting Like It?
Discussion: Raw Story
Bevin pardons include convicted killer whose brother hosted campaign fundraiser for him  —  The family of a man pardoned by Gov. Matt Bevin for a homicide and other crimes in a fatal 2014 Knox County home invasion raised $21,500 at a political fundraiser last year to retire debt from Bevin's 2015 gubernatorial campaign.
Allan Smith / NBC News:
Trump mocks Greta Thunberg after she wins Time Person of the Year  —  “So ridiculous,” Trump tweeted.  “Greta must work on her Anger Management problem, then go to a good old fashioned movie with a friend!  Chill Greta, Chill!”  —  Trump mocks Time's Person of the Year on Twitter
John Wagner / Washington Post:
Trump mocks 16-year-old Greta Thunberg a day after she is named Time's Person of the Year
NBC News:
Pentagon watchdog plans to review award of $400M border wall contract to firm touted by Trump  —  Fisher Sand & Gravel has been publicly and privately endorsed to build the wall by members of the Trump administration, including the president himself.  —  WASHINGTON — The Defense Department's …
Discussion: ABC News
Elizabeth Findell / Wall Street Journal:   Construction of Texas Border Wall Stalls Over Fights With Landowners
David Smith / The Guardian:
Fox host lambasts Trump over ‘most sustained assault on press freedom in US history’  —  Chris Wallace, admired for breaking ranks with some in the conservative network, drew applause with most stinging critique yet  —  A leading host on Fox News, a conservative network notorious for its loyalty …
Discussion: The Daily Caller and Deadline
Aidan McLaughlin / Mediaite:   Fox's Chris Wallace: Trump is ‘Engaged in the Most Direct, Sustained Assault on Freedom of the Press in Our History’
Alexander Mallin / ABC News:
DOJ charges 10 former NFL players in alleged health care fraud scheme  —  The scheme involved over $3.9 million in false health care claims.  —  The Department of Justice announced charges Thursday against 10 former NFL players over an alleged scheme to defraud millions of dollars from the league's health care benefits program.
Michael Wines / New York Times:
In a Turnabout, Kentucky to Give Voting Rights to 100,000 Former Felons  —  The state's new Democratic governor has said he will restore rights to many former felons, easing one of the nation's strictest policies.  Iowa would be alone in barring voting by all felons.
Katherine Clarke / Wall Street Journal:
Lachlan Murdoch Sets L.A. Record by Paying $150 Million for a Château-Style Mansion  —  Once listed for $350 million, the Bel-Air estate of late media tycoon A. Jerrold Perenchio is the second priciest home ever to have traded in the U.S.  —  Lachlan Murdoch, media executive and son …
Discussion: FiveThirtyEight and Mediaite
John F. Harris / Politico:
What if Trump Weren't Nuts?  —  A moment when the president of the United States is on the verge of being impeached and also enacting a major bipartisan trade agreement is a good time to ponder the question: What if Donald Trump were not, um, you know ... what is the phrase we are groping for?
Adam Edelman / NBC News:
NBC News, MSNBC to host February Democratic debate in Las Vegas  —  The event, the third NBC News debate of the 2020 election cycle, comes in the midst of the early-state primary voting.  —  NBC News and MSNBC will host a Democratic presidential primary debate Feb. 19 in Las Vegas, the Democratic National Committee announced Thursday.
Discussion: Axios, The Hill and MSNBC
Ben Farmer / Telegraph:
Three die as marauding Pakistan lawyers rampage through cardiac hospital  —  Three heart patients died after a mob of lawyers rampaged through a Lahore hospital in a dispute with doctors.  —  Up to 200 lawyers wearing traditional black suits stormed the Punjab Institute of Cardiology (PIC) …
Anne Applebaum / The Atlantic:
The False Romance of Russia  —  Sherwood Eddy was a prominent American missionary as well as that now rare thing, a Christian socialist.  In the 1920s and '30s, he made more than a dozen trips to the Soviet Union.  He was not blind to the problems of the U.S.S.R., but he also found much to like.
Discussion: Raw Story
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 More Items: 
New York Times:
Immense amounts of methane are escaping from oil and gas sites nationwide, worsening global warming …
Lawrence Hurley / Reuters:
Trump poised for Supreme Court battle over financial records
Jason Lyall / Washington Post:
If you're surprised by what's in the Afghanistan Papers, you haven't been paying attention
Alex Leary / Wall Street Journal:
Tariff Threat Dims Holiday Cheer for Christmas Tree Company
Discussion: Raw Story, Daily Breeze and CNBC
Ed Kilgore / New York Magazine:
Is Pelosi Falling Between Two Stools in Her Impeachment Strategy?
Discussion: CNN, The Hill and New York Times
Jonathan Chait / New York Magazine:
Hunter Biden Is the New Hillary Clinton Email Server
In a High-Stakes Labor Showdown, McDonald's Has Allies in the White House
The Daily Beast:
Trump Blasts Trudeau and ‘Pain in the Ass’ Macron Behind Closed Doors Following Viral Video
Discussion: New York Post and Raw Story
 Earlier Items: 
Randall Schriver, Pentagon's Top Asia Official, Resigns Post
Discussion: Foreign Policy
Liel Leibovitz / Tablet Magazine:
The Real Dangers to Jews
Discussion: CNN, Deseret News, The Atlantic and HotAir
Nikki Haley / Washington Post:
My position on the Confederate flag has been constant. Our country's culture has changed.
Lee Fang / The Intercept:
The Donald Trump Campaign Is Deploying Phone Location-Tracking Technology
Discussion: Vox
Jennifer Bendery / HuffPost:
Republicans Confirm Judge Rated ‘Not Qualified’ For Being ‘Lazy,’ ‘Arrogant’
The Philadelphia Inquirer:
Impeach President Donald Trump | Philadelphia Inquirer Editorial Board
Discussion: The Hill and HotAir