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4:45 PM ET, May 18, 2017


 Top Items: 
Exclusive: Trump campaign had at least 18 undisclosed contacts with Russians: sources  —  Michael Flynn and other advisers to Donald Trump's campaign were in contact with Russian officials and others with Kremlin ties in at least 18 calls and emails during the last seven months of the 2016 presidential race …
Michael Isikoff / Yahoo:
As investigators circled Flynn, he got a message from Trump: Stay strong  —  Late last month, fired National Security Adviser Michael Flynn—under investigation by federal prosecutors, with his lawyer seeking immunity for him to testify to Congress-met with a small group of loyalists at a restaurant in the northern Virginia suburbs.
The Daily Beast:
Donald Trump Talked Michael Flynn Into White House Job … President Donald Trump pressured a “reluctant” Michael Flynn into accepting a job as the White House's top national security official even after Flynn warned the president that he was under investigation over undisclosed lobbying …
New York Times:
Trump Team Knew Flynn Was Under Investigation Before He Came to White House
Vera Bergengruen / McClatchy Washington Bureau:
Flynn stopped military plan Turkey opposed - after being paid as its agent
Josh Gerstein / Politico:
BuzzFeed sues for records on Trump-Obama tapping tweets
Discussion: The Week
You Need To Connect The Dots Between The Bombshell Michael Flynn Stories
Wall Street Journal:
The Special Counsel Mistake  —  Rosenstein bends to political pressure, and here we go again.
Discussion: Infowars and The Last Tradition
William Cummings / USA Today:
Special counsel vs. special prosecutor: What's the difference?  —  1.4k Shares  —  On Wednesday, former FBI director Robert Mueller was appointed to be a special counsel to oversee the investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election and the possibility of collusion between Russia and President Trump's campaign.
Olivia Beavers / The Hill:
Senate Dems: Deputy AG knew Comey was being removed before writing memo
Discussion: Political Wire
Jordan Fabian / The Hill:
Trump: Special counsel appointment ‘hurts the country’
Discussion: RedState
Trump lashes out over special counsel appointment
Burgess Everett / Politico:
Senators: Rosenstein knew Comey would be fired before writing memo
Discussion: Axios
Michael Crowley / Politico:
Lieberman emerges as front-runner for FBI post  —  Joe Lieberman, the former Democratic vice-presidential nominee, is the front-runner to be named FBI director, according to several White House officials and advisers.  —  Senior administration officials have told others in the last 12 hours …
Annie Karni / Politico:
Trump weighs downsizing Spicer's public role  —  President Donald Trump is considering scaling back White House press secretary Sean Spicer's public role, according to several officials familiar with the president's thinking, as Trump also weighs a broader shakeup of his communications shop in the wake of several scandals.
Maggie Haberman / New York Times:
Advisers Urge Trump to Hire an Outside Lawyer  —  WASHINGTON — Several White House advisers and personal associates of President Trump have urged him to hire an experienced outside lawyer to help him deal with issues arising from a surging controversy over whether his campaign had ties to Russia …
Rachael Bade / Politico:
Chaffetz to announce early departure from Congress  —  Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) is expected to announce Thursday that he is resigning before the end of this congressional term, according to three sources familiar with his plans.  —  Chaffetz did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday evening or Thursday morning.
Jason Chaffetz / Chaffetz:
Chaffetz Letter to Utah's 3rd Congressional District  —  f t # e  —  Dear 3rd District Constituents:  —  Serving you in the U.S. House of Representatives for nearly nine years has been a rare honor and privilege.  When I first ran for Congress in 2008 I promised I would get in, serve, and get out.
Jack Moore / Newsweek:
TRUMP CANCELS VISIT TO ANCIENT MASADA SITE AFTER ISRAEL REFUSES HELICOPTER LANDING  —  WORLD ISRAEL TRUMP  —  President Donald Trump has canceled a planned visit and speech at the ancient mountain fortress of Masada in Israel after authorities told him that he could not land his helicopter on top of the UNESCO-listed site.
Car slams into Times Square pedestrians, killing one, injuring others  —  A speeding car plowed into pedestrians on a sidewalk in New York City's busy Times Square on Thursday, killing one person and injuring a dozen, according to witnesses, and police said the incident did not appear to be an act of terrorism.
New York Post:
Speeding car mows down pedestrians in Times Square
Discussion: Hot Air
Morgan Chalfant / The Hill:
Russia tried to take over Pentagon Twitter accounts: report  —  Russia tried to gain access to the Twitter accounts of Defense Department officials using messages carrying malware, according to Time magazine.  —  Russia is said to have sent messages to over 10,000 Pentagon Twitter users …
Discussion:, Axios, RedState and The Week
CBS News:
U.S. aircraft conduct strike on Syrian army convoy  —  BEIRUT — The U.S. sent aircraft to strike Syrian regime vehicles on Thursday that violated a deconfliction zone set up around al-Tanf, an army base where special forces are training Syrian militias, CBS News national security correspondent David Martin reports.
Erin McClam / CNNMoney:
Roger Ailes, who built Fox News into a powerhouse, dies at 77  —  Roger Ailes dead at 77  —  Roger Ailes, who transformed cable news and then American politics by building Fox News into a ratings powerhouse, died Thursday.  He was 77.  —  The death was announced by his family and reported on Fox News Channel.
Kurt Schlichter /
This Is A Coup Against Our Right To Govern Ourselves  —  The blizzard of lies and distraction blowing through Washington is not just any routine stuffstorm, but a calculated attempt to bring down a president - our president, not the establishment's president.
Discussion: The Hugh Hewitt Show
Matthew Yglesias / Vox:
Trump isn't a toddler — he's a product of America's culture of impunity for the rich  —  “When you're a star, they let you do it.”  —  Ross Douthat's column arguing for the superiority of “25th Amendment remedies” to impeachment for Donald Trump's various misdeeds is impressive in its ability …
Alex Seitz-Wald / NBC News:
House Dems Smash Fundraising Records Ahead of Midterms  —  House Democrats have already raised more money in online contributions this year ahead of the midterms than they did during all of 2015, the most recently comparable year, a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee official told NBC News.
Discussion: Politicus USA
Rick Wilson / Washington Post:
If you work for Trump, it's time to quit  —  After the Comey firing and the Russia intel leak, the I'm-taking-one-for-the-team ship has sailed.  —  I've been a Republican political consultant for almost 30 years, and I've dispensed a lot of private advice.
Discussion: Politicus USA
Megan R. Wilson / The Hill:
Turkish Embassy calls violent clash with protesters in DC ‘self-defense’  —  The Turkish Embassy in Washington said on Wednesday that bodyguards for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan were acting in “self-defense” when they were involved in a violent clash in front of the ambassador's residence …
Robert Kuttner / American Prospect:
Trump: The End Game  —  President Donald Trump walks on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, May 17, 2017, to board Marine One for a short trip to Andrews Air Force Base, then to speak at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy Commencement Ceremony.  —  Trump will be forced from the presidency.
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 More Items: 
Laurel Raymond / ThinkProgress:
Sen. Lindsey Graham: Congress should abandon Russia investigation, go back to Clinton's emails
Discussion: The Gateway Pundit
Daniel Cox / FiveThirtyEight:
Way More Americans May Be Atheists Than We Thought
Discussion: Telegraph
Julia Carrie Wong / The Guardian:
Tesla factory workers reveal pain, injury and stress: ‘Everything feels like the future but us’
Discussion: RT and The Daily Caller
Garrett M. Graff / Politico:
What Donald Trump Needs to Know About Bob Mueller and Jim Comey
Discussion: Axios
Charles Murray is once again peddling junk science about race and IQ
Discussion: Mother Jones
Euan McKirdy / CNN:
Dutch King reveals he secretly piloted KLM passenger flights for 21 years
Jordan Weissmann / Slate:
Betsy DeVos Wants to Kill a Major Student Loan Forgiveness Program
Discussion: Common Dreams and Washington Post
 Earlier Items: 
New York Times:
Democratic Leaders Try to Slow Calls to Impeach Trump
Discussion: Liberal Values
Assemblyman Tim Donnelly / Breitbart:
MS-13 Gang ‘Decapitated’ in 50 Los Angeles Raids
John Hudson / BuzzFeed:
Stephen Miller Is Writing Trump's NATO Speech, Too
Discussion: Political Wire and Politico
Tim Devaney / The Hill:
Lawmakers renew push to end federal ban on marijuana
Vaughn Hillyard / NBC News:
Pence Creates PAC ahead of 2018, 2020 Elections
Discussion: Daily Kos, Raw Story and TheStreet
Alvin Chang / Vox:
We tracked the Trump scandals on right-wing news sites. Here's how they covered it.
Discussion: CNBC
Washington Post:
Race between Democrats running for Virginia governor is neck-and-neck
Discussion: Political Wire