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7:40 PM ET, December 24, 2020


 Top Items: 
Washington Post:
Families on brink of eviction, hunger describe nightmare Christmas as $900 billion relief bill hangs in limbo  —  About 14 million Americans will lose unemployment aid on Saturday after President Trump and Congress were unable to reach a deal.  —  Millions of Americans who are hours away …
Discussion: The Hill, Raw Story, CNN, IJR and Political Wire
Greg Sargent / Washington Post:
Republicans raging at Trump are getting exactly what they deserve  —  House Republicans are in a fury with President Trump, now that he is threatening to blow up the carefully negotiated settlement that led to passage of the $900 billion economic rescue package.
New York Times:
Answering Trump, Democrats Try and Fail to Jam $2,000 Payments Through House  —  In a brief bit of political theater, the House majority leader opened the House for business to ask for unanimous consent to accede to President Trump's request for larger checks.
Jeff Stein / Washington Post:
House Republicans block Democrats' effort to advance $2,000 stimulus checks pushed by Trump  —  The Christmas Eve move came as Trump has refused to sign a $900 billion economic relief package into law  —  House Republicans on Thursday blocked an effort by House Democrats to approve $2,000 stimulus payments for millions of Americans.
GOP blocks House Democrats' attempt to pass $2,000 stimulus checks
Congress scrambles to avert shutdown after Trump's stimulus demands
Jon Swaine / Washington Post:
Sidney Powell's secret intelligence contractor witness is a pro-Trump podcaster  —  As she asked the U.S. Supreme Court this month to overturn President Trump's election loss, the attorney Sidney Powell cited testimony from a secret witness presented as a former intelligence contractor …
Frustrated Trump met with Pence before holiday break  —  Washington (CNN)Hours before President Donald Trump retweeted a message for his vice president to “act” in stopping the ratification of the Electoral College, he met for more than an hour in the Oval Office with Mike Pence …
Matt Naham / Law & Crime:
Lawyers for Dominion Voting Systems Sent 21 Retraction or Record Preservation Demand Letters This Week — Read Them All Here  —  Dominion Voting Systems has sent a slew of retraction and/or record preservation demand letters as it threatens defamation litigation against numerous parties …
Discussion: Forbes and Raw Story
Jacob Shamsian / Business Insider:
EXCLUSIVE: Dominion sends letters threatening defamation lawsuits to Sean Hannity, Maria Bartiromo, Lou Dobbs, and other pro-Trump media figures  — Dominion Voting Systems has sent letters to Fox News, Newsmax, and One America News, warning of a defamation lawsuit.
Discussion: CNBC, CNN, HotAir and LifeZette
William M. Arkin / Newsweek:
Exclusive: Donald Trump's Martial-Law Talk Has Military on Red Alert  —  Pentagon and Washington-area military leaders are on red alert, wary of what President Donald Trump might do in his remaining days in office.  Though far-fetched, ranking officers have discussed what they would do if the president declared martial law.
Tyler Olson / Fox News:
Jenna Ellis, Trump campaign legal adviser, pans calls for martial law
Discussion: Washington Post and
Orlando Sentinel:
DeSantis spokesman Piccolo deletes his Twitter account after tweet about COVID-19 victims  —  Fred Piccolo, spokesman for Gov. Ron DeSantis, deactivated his Twitter account Wednesday after he tweeted in the middle of night that photos of each dead COVID-19 victim should be balanced with 99 photos of people who survive the disease.
Discussion: Florida Politics
Donald G. McNeil Jr / New York Times:
How Much Herd Immunity Is Enough?  —  Scientists initially estimated that 60 to 70 percent of the population needed to acquire resistance to the coronavirus to banish it.  Now Dr. Anthony Fauci and others are quietly shifting that number upward.  —  At what point does a country achieve herd immunity?
Sarah Isgur / Washington Post:
We in the ‘shallow state’ thought we could help.  Instead, we obscured the reality of a Trump presidency.  —  Sarah Isgur was the director of the Office of Public Affairs at the Justice Department from 2017-2018.  —  As far as I know, no spokesperson for the Justice Department has ever …
Discussion: Mediaite and
Hunter Walker / Yahoo News:
Jared Kushner played a key role in White House pardon ‘free for all’  —  WASHINGTON — President Trump's son-in-law and top advisor, Jared Kushner, has played a key role in managing the avalanche of clemency requests that have come into the White House as the administration nears its end next month, according to multiple sources.
Discussion: The Guardian and Reason
Mark Niesse / Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
Judge dismisses GOP lawsuit to limit Georgia ballot drop box hours  —  A Fulton County judge dismissed a Republican Party lawsuit Thursday that tried to close absentee ballot drop boxes after normal business hours.  —  Superior Court Judge Kimberly Esmond Adams' ruling allows voters …
Discussion: The Hill
David Folkenflik / NPR:
Host of ‘The Daily’ Clouds ‘N.Y. Times’ Effort To Restore Trust After ‘Caliphate’  —  Toggle more options  —  Late last week, The New York Times issued one of its biggest mea culpas in years.  The nation's leading newspaper returned a Peabody award and a citation as a finalist …
Alex Isenstadt / Politico:
Trump squeezes Republicans with eye on 2022 primaries  —  President Donald Trump has instructed his top political advisers to begin monitoring potential 2022 GOP primary targets, as he lashes out at fellow Republicans whom he deems disloyal.  —  With less than a month until Trump leaves office …
Heather Stewart / The Guardian:
Boris Johnson says Brexit deal has settled UK's Europe question … Play Video  —  Boris Johnson claimed finally to have settled the vexed question of Britain's relationship with the European Union as he hailed on Christmas Eve what he called the “jumbo, Canada-style” Brexit deal.
Financial Times:
UK and EU agree historic Brexit trade deal
Pompeo's Wife Tested Positive for Coronavirus as Cases Spiked  — State Department had scheduled large holiday gatherings  — Pompeo said Dec. 16 he was going into quarantine for exposure  —  Secretary of State Michael Pompeo's wife tested positive for the coronavirus …
Discussion: The Hill and Forbes
David Brennan / Newsweek:
Kelly Loeffler Falls Behind Raphael Warnock in Georgia Senate Runoff Poll  —  Georgia Sen. Kelly Loeffler has slipped behind Democratic challenger Raphael Warnock in the latest poll for next month's runoff election, while the race between Sen. David Perdue and Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff for the second seat remains on a knife-edge.
Tim Miller / The Bulwark:
The Treasonous Pardon of Paul Manafort  —  Trump, Russia, and the swamp won.  America lost.  —  For four years we've been force-fed the preposterous dual notions that Donald Trump intended to “drain the swamp” and that any suggestion his campaign colluded with Russia in its interference in the 2016 election was a media hoax.
Franklin Foer / The Atlantic:
The Triumph of Kleptocracy  —  Paul Manafort came of age in New Britain, Connecticut.
Discussion: Lawyers, Guns & Money
Joseph Goldstein / New York Times:
Hospital Workers Start to ‘Turn Against Each Other’ to Get Vaccine  —  “I am so disappointed and saddened that this happened,” a New York hospital executive wrote to his staff after workers who did not have priority cut the line for the vaccine.  —  At NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital …
Discussion: New York Post
Adam Klasfeld / Law & Crime:
Here Are the Questionable Trump Pardons That You Did Not Hear About Last Night  —  In another White House administration, these pardons may have sparked political scandal, but outgoing President Donald Trump's shock-and-awe waves of clemency relegated them to local news and second-day leads.
Discussion: Talking Points Memo
William A. Jacobson / Le·gal In·sur·rec· tion:
“If they don't like having me in the building, they can leave ... but I'm not going to leave”  —  My re-appearance on The Daily Signal Podcast looking back and forward at the ‘cancel culture’ directed at me: “right now it's a little bit quiet, but I think it's probably a little bit of calm before the next storm.”
Elizabeth Neumann / Fox News:
Trump harmed national security by cutting refugee admissions to US — Biden will admit more  —  Opening our nation to such a small number of refugees betrays our values as a nation of immigrants  —  Texas becomes first state to close door on new refugees  —  The United States has all but vacated …
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo:
Governor Cuomo Grants Clemency to 21 Individuals  —  Clemency Granted to Individuals Demonstrating Remorse, Rehabilitation and Commitment to Their Communities  —  Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today granted clemency to 21 individuals who have demonstrated substantial evidence of remorse, rehabilitation and a commitment to the community.
Gabor Rona / Just Security:
Can a Pardon Be a War Crime?:  When Pardons Themselves Violate the Laws of War  —  Editor's note: Originally published on May 25, 2019; with an author's note published on Dec. 24, 2020.  —  Not all corrupt pardons are created equal.  Many of the ones being handed out by President Donald Trump …
Discussion: Towleroad Gay News and Law & Crime
Trump Back At Mar-A-Lago, Raising Taxpayer Golf Tab To $151.5 Million  —  This marks Trump's 31st golf trip to his Palm Beach resort, which in total account for just over two-thirds of his golf-related travel and security costs.  —  Donald Trump has arrived at his Palm Beach, Florida …
Discussion: Mediaite
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 More Items: 
Carly Ortiz-Lytle / Washington Examiner:
President Trump and Melania praise inspiring ‘courage’ of the public amid pandemic
Discussion: Fox News and The Gateway Pundit
Iran says U.S. approved its funds transfer to buy COVID vaccines
Jacob Bogage / Washington Post:
USPS and civil rights groups reach deal to fast-track ballots in Georgia runoff elections
Discussion: The Hill, KTVZ-TV and Forbes
Suspected Russian hackers used Microsoft vendors to breach customers
 Earlier Items: 
The Daily Beast:
How These Comedians Turned MAGA Men Into Laughingstocks
Kurt Bardella / Los Angeles Times:
Op-Ed: It's never too late to become a Democrat
Steven Greenhouse / American Prospect:
Firing Workers on the Boss's Whim? New York Puts a Stop to That.
Donald G. McNeil Jr / New York Times:
Covid-19 Latest Updates: Democrats' Bid to Call Trump's Stimulus Bluff Is Swiftly Rejected
Discussion: Bloomberg and Reason
Washington Post:
Trump administration pushes forward on $500 million weapons deal with Saudi Arabia
Discussion: Raw Story and Mock Paper Scissors
Clarence Williams / Washington Post:
Trump pardons former Prince George's County police officer