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3:25 PM ET, September 15, 2021

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 Top Items: 
Jonathan Swan / Axios:
Mark Milley's crisis  —  When Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley goes before Congress on Sept. 28, he may face some of the most hostile questioning of any modern four-star general.  —  Driving the news: Newly released excerpts from “Peril” by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa …
RELATED:
Charlie Sykes / Morning Shots:
Does the GOP Really Want to Do This Again?  —  Blowout in California  —  In the end, it wasn't even remotely close.  California voters rejected a GOP-led recall of Governor Gavin Newsom by a landslide margin of 64-36 — a 28-point shellacking.  —  Yes, this is what we should have expected …
Brooke Singman / Fox News:
Trump Acting Defense Sec. Miller says he ‘did not’ authorize Milley China calls, says he should resign  —  In a statement to Fox News, Miller said that the United States Armed Forces, from its inception, has “operated under the inviolable principle of civilian control of the military.”
Discussion: Insider and Twitchy
Washington Post:
Biden says he has ‘great confidence’ in Milley after book reveals top general, fearing Trump, conferred with China to avert war  —  President Biden said Wednesday that he has “great confidence” in Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, after a new book revealed …
The Daily Beast:
Trump Calls Allies to Demand Gen. Mark Milley Be ‘Arrested’ for ‘Treason’  —  The former president hit the phones, and then went on his former press secretary's Newsmax show to make the case himself.  —  In the afternoon hours on Tuesday, following reports that then-President Donald Trump's …
Mike Brest / Washington Examiner:
Joint Chiefs of Staff defend Milley's call to China promising to warn of possible attack
Discussion: The Daily Beast and CNN
Jonathan Martin / New York Times:
Newsom's Anti-Trump Recall Strategy Offers Republicans a Warning for 2022  —  California Democrats were able to nationalize the vote — thanks to an avalanche of money, party discipline and, above all, an easily demonized opponent.  —  SAN LEANDRO, Calif. — California basks in its clairvoyance.
RELATED:
Jordan Davidson / The Federalist:
Frustrated California Voters May Have Lost The Recall, But The War On Newsom Isn't Over  —  Some California residents were stunned, but others said they are determined to use the power they amassed to create the recall to keep fighting to hold the governor accountable for his tyranny.
Philip Bump / Washington Post:
There's no upside for the GOP from the California recall
New York Times:
California Recall Election Results
Devlin Barrett / Washington Post:
FBI fires agent who failed to pursue tips about sex abuse by USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar  —  An FBI agent accused of failing to properly investigate former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar — and lying about it later — has been fired by the FBI, days before a high-stakes public hearing …
RELATED:
Ronn Blitzer / Fox News:
US Olympic gymnasts slam Nassar investigation, allege FBI ‘turned a blind eye,’ falsified report
Discussion: Washington Examiner
Wall Street Journal:
Facebook Tried to Make Its Platform a Healthier Place.  It Got Angrier Instead.  —  Internal memos show how a big 2018 change rewarded outrage and that CEO Mark Zuckerberg resisted proposed fixes  —  In the fall of 2018, Jonah Peretti, chief executive of online publisher BuzzFeed …
Katie Pavlich / The Hill:
Biden's Afghan shame  —  On Aug. 30, at 3:29 p.m. in Washington D.C., breaking headlines blared across the chyrons of national news networks.  After 20 years, America's longest war had been declared over by the Pentagon.  —  “I'm here to announce the completion of our withdrawal from Afghanistan …
RELATED:
Washington Post:
The pandemic marks another grim milestone: 1 in 500 Americans have died of covid-19  —  At a certain point, it was no longer a matter of if the United States would reach the gruesome milestone of 1 in 500 people dying of covid-19, but a matter of when.  A year?  Maybe 15 months?  The answer: 19 months.
Discussion: Vox
Quinnipiac University Poll:
Nearly 7 In 10 Say Recent Rise In COVID-19 Deaths Was Preventable, Quinnipiac University National Poll Finds; Job Approval For Supreme Court Drops To All-Time Low  — mail_outline  —  With the number of COVID-19 deaths in the United States now topping 650,000, an overwhelmingly majority …
Brian Schwartz / CNBC:
Mercer family played bigger role in 2020 election than thought, giving nearly $20 million to dark-money GOP fund  — The wealthy family led by Robert and Rebekah Mercer invested nearly $20 million last year into a dark money fund that allows donors to keep secret the ultimate destination of their contributions.
Discussion: Raw Story
CNN:
CNN Poll: Most Americans feel democracy is under attack in the US  —  (CNN)Most Americans feel democracy is under attack in this country (56%), according to a new CNN Poll conducted by SSRS, as 51% say it is likely that elected officials in the US will successfully overturn the results …
Sarah Pulliam Bailey / Washington Post:
This pastor will sign a religious exemption for vaccines if you donate to his church  —  A pastor is encouraging people to donate to his Tulsa church so they can become an online member and get his signature on a religious exemption from coronavirus vaccine mandates.
Bryan Lowry / Miami Herald:
Capitol Police officers face discipline for photos with rioters  —  A Capitol Police officer facing disciplinary action told investigators that he posed for a photo with a suspect during the Jan. 6 riot in order to identify him later.  —  But the officer never shared that plan with his supervisor …
Madeline Holcombe / CNN:
1 in 500 US residents has died of Covid-19  —  'It's bad to the bone': Unvaccinated man describes Covid-19 fight  —  (CNN)The United States has reached another grim milestone in its fight against the devastating Covid-19 pandemic: 1 in 500 Americans have died from coronavirus since the nation's first reported infection.
CNN:
California Recall Exit Polls  —  Exit polls are surveys of a random sample of voters taken as they leave their polling place on election day.  Absentee and early voters are represented by either telephone polls or in-person exit polls at early voting locations.
Khudai Noor Nasar / BBC:
Afghanistan: Taliban leaders in bust-up at presidential palace, sources say  —  A major row broke out between leaders of the Taliban just days after they set up a new government in Afghanistan, senior Taliban officials told the BBC.  —  Supporters of two rival factions reportedly brawled …
Tal Axelrod / The Hill:
Third Republican drops out of race to replace Cheney after Trump endorses challenger  —  Former President Trump's endorsement of Wyoming attorney Harriet Hageman in the GOP primary to take out Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) has pushed out a third candidate in under a week, further clearing what was a crowded field.
Jennifer Rubin / Washington Post:
Once again, the GOP's answer is ‘no.’ Democrats should take it and run.  —  Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) in a statement on Tuesday announced a compromise voting reform bill supported by Democratic Sens. Tim Kaine (Va.), Angus King (I-Maine), Joe Manchin III (W.Va.), Jeff Merkley (Ore.) …
Jenny Deam / ProPublica:
A Boy Went to a COVID-Swamped ER.  He Waited for Hours.  Then His Appendix Burst.  —  Non-COVID patients are paying a price as the delta variant and low-vaccination rates overwhelm hospitals across the country.  “Wait times can now be measured in days,” said an expert.  —  Coronavirus
Discussion: Chicago Tribune
Kara Scannell / CNN:
Federal judge denies Trump's request to stop E. Jean Carroll lawsuit from moving forward  —  (CNN)A federal judge overseeing columnist E. Jean Carroll's defamation lawsuit against former President Donald Trump has denied Trump's request to stop the case from moving forward as they await an appeals court decision.
Josh Gerstein / Politico:
Court reinstates Nunes suit over reporter's tweet  —  A federal appeals court has rejected Rep. Devin Nunes' defamation suit over a magazine story about his relatives in Iowa, but the court revived the lawmaker's claim that he was libeled when a reporter linked to the story in a tweet more than a year after it was first published.
 
 
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 More Items: 
Tess Owen / VICE:
Unvaccinated TikTokers Are Calling Themselves ‘Purebloods’
Discussion: Raw Story
Pew Research Center:
Majority in U.S. Says Public Health Benefits of COVID-19 Restrictions Worth the Costs, Even as Large Shares Also See Downsides
Joel Burgess / The Asheville Citizen Times:
Democrat Jay Carey says Rep. Madison Cawthorn brought weapon to school board meeting
Discussion: Raw Story
Dan Froomkin / Press Watch:
20 years after 9/11, political journalists decry extreme polarization but blame no one, certainly not themselves
Discussion: New York Times
Allahpundit / HotAir:
Pfizer analysis makes case for COVID vaccine booster
Discussion: NPR, Politico, UPI and WBBH-TV
 Earlier Items: 
Jim Geraghty / National Review:
U.S. State Department: For a Visa to Leave Afghanistan, Please Go to a U.S. Embassy in a Neighboring Country
Alan Fram / Associated Press:
Maverick Dem senators meeting with Biden on spending plan
Mike Elk / Payday Report:
How Clemente Got the Players' Union Behind Curt Flood
Politico:
POLITICO Playbook: Scoop: Grisham texts cast doubt on book claim
Discussion: Mediaite, Raw Story and Political Wire
Sydney Morning Herald:
Ministers granted border exemptions to attend urgent meeting in Canberra
Discussion: Politico, Gizmodo and Becker News
Timothy Noah / New Republic:
Taxing Wealth Is a Fool's Errand