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5:00 PM ET, December 21, 2018


 Top Items: 
Andrew Kaczynski / CNN:
Mick Mulvaney in 2015: Trump's views on border wall ‘simplistic,’ ‘absurd and almost childish’  —  (CNN)Incoming White House acting-chief of staff Mick Mulvaney once called President Donald Trump's views on a border wall and immigration “simplistic” and “absurd and almost childish.”
What should worry Trump most: Republican allies are turning on him  —  Another reason this is a historic week — and what President Trump should really worry about — is that lots of different Republicans have been turning on him over different topics.  —  Why it matters: A former Trump aide …
Colby Hall / Mediaite:
Maggie Haberman: ‘Disgusted’ Republicans Now Privately Admitting They Regret Supporting Trump  —  New York Times reporter and CNN contributor Maggie Haberman appeared on New Day Friday morning and revealed insight into the current turmoil in Washington D.C.  —  In light of the many issues challenging …
Pre-Christmas Trump: Rebuked, rampaging  —  The last member of an informal alliance of top Trump officials with enough swat or stature to stand up to President Trump — the Committee to Save America, as Jim VandeHei and I called these officials 16 months ago — resigned in epic fashion.
Ken Meyer / Mediaite:
Brian Kilmeade Goes Off on Sarah Sanders Over Syria: Trump Just ‘Refounded ISIS’ By Leaving  —  Brian Kilmeade grilled Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Friday by saying President Trump essentially “refounded ISIS” if he pulls the U.S. military out of Syria.  —  The White House press secretary gave …
Discussion: Joe.My.God., Splinter and Taylor Marsh
Andrew Restuccia / Politico:
Trump bumps Mar-a-Lago getaway amid shutdown confusion
Discussion: Raw Story
Associated Press:
Analysis: As advisers leave, Trump's guardrails come off
Discussion: The Week and Politico
Jamie Ross / The Daily Beast:
Trump Already Souring on Next Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney Over ‘Terrible Human Being’ Jibe, Says Report
Ezra Klein / Vox:   Trump endangers America because congressional Republicans let him
Eli Lake / Bloomberg:
Mattis Puts Trump's Presidency in Peril
Victor Davis Hanson / National Review:
The Departure of Mattis and Engagements in the Middle East
Discussion: Power Line and Washington Post
Washington Post:
‘A tailspin’: Under siege, Trump propels the government and markets into crisis
Associated Press:
Trump call with Turkish leader led to US pullout from Syria  —  WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw American troops from Syria was made hastily, without consulting his national security team or allies, and over strong objections from virtually everyone involved …
Kurdish-led Forces Report ‘Huge’ ISIS Assault in Southeast Syria
Erin Cunningham / Washington Post:
Turkey threatens to ‘bury’ Kurdish forces in Syria amid U.S. withdrawal
Emmie Martin / CNBC:
The budget breakdown of a 25-year-old who makes $100,000 a year and is excellent with money  —  Trevor Klee, he admits, is a “terrible employee.”  But he's great at working for himself — and at taking tests.  —  So the 25-year-old entrepreneur started a thriving business of his own.
Discussion: Mashable and Splinter
Robert Barnes / Washington Post:
Supreme Court denies Trump administration request to immediately enforce new asylum rules  —  The Supreme Court on Friday denied the Trump administration's request that it be allowed to immediately enforce a new policy of denying asylum to those who illegally cross the U.S.-Mexico border …
Adam Liptak / New York Times:
Supreme Court Won't Revive Trump Policy Limiting Asylum  —  WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Friday refused to revive a Trump administration initiative barring migrants who enter the country illegally from seeking asylum.  —  The court was closely divided, with Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. joining …
CNN:   Supreme Court upholds block on Trump's asylum ban
New York Times:
As Markets Tumble, Tech Stocks Hit a Rare and Ominous Milestone  —  When it comes to the stock market, America's technology giants have become a harbinger of more pain to come.  —  If Facebook, Apple or Google looked shaky this year — as investors worried about growth, regulation or mismanagement — the rest of the market felt it.
Thomas Franck / CNBC:
S&P 500 turns negative as week-long equity rout continues  —  U.S. stocks erased early gains Friday, falling into negative territory as a week-long equity exodus put the major indexes on track for one of their worst weeks of the year.  —  The Dow Jones Industrial Average trimmed gains …
Thomas Heath / Washington Post:   U.S. stocks suffer worst week in a decade
Brian Schwartz / CNBC:
Billionaire megadonor Robert Mercer cuts back on support for GOP after being scrutinized for backing Trump  — Yet people close to Mercer say he's “disappeared” and he's no longer playing as big a role in supporting the Republican Party as he used to.  — “He's out,” said a former associate of Mercer.
Dan Berman / CNN:
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg undergoes surgery  —  Washington (CNN)Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had two malignant nodules removed from her left lung Friday at a New York hospital, the Supreme Court announced.  —  There is no evidence of any remaining disease, says a court spokesperson …
Adam Cancryn / Politico:
Justice Ginsburg had surgery to remove cancerous nodules
NBC News:
Trump warns shutdown could last ‘very long time,’ urges McConnell to go ‘nuclear’ and end filibuster  —  “Mitch, use the Nuclear Option and get it done!  Our Country is counting on you!”  Trump tweeted.  —  President Donald Trump on Friday said the chances of a partial government shutdown were …
Daniel Horowitz / Conservative Review:
Trump doesn't need 60 Senate votes to fix the border and short-circuit a shutdown  —  Last night, Chuck Schumer said at a press conference, “The Trump temper tantrum will shut down the government, but it will not get him his wall.”  The truth is that if McConnell would actually lead and enforce …
Julia Ioffe / Washington Post:
Please don't wish me ‘Merry Christmas’  —  It's impolite and alienating to assume I follow your religion.  —  'Twas five nights before Christmas, and my Lyft driver was the umpteenth person to wish me a “Merry Christmas” that day.  He probably just meant it the way most people do …
Discussion: Hot Air and
Travis Gettys / Raw Story:
Michael Cohen discussed mysterious $1.8 million loan to pool boy that Jerry Falwell Jr and his wife befriended: report  —  Jerry Falwell Jr. confirmed that he loaned $1.8 million to a young pool attendant he and his wife had befriended while staying six years ago at a luxury hotel.
Jeffrey Goldberg / The Atlantic:
Mattis Always Understood Trump's Severe Defects  —  In the spring of 2016, not long after The Atlantic published an article I had written about President Barack Obama's foreign-policy record, I visited the Hoover Institution, a think tank on the campus of Stanford University …
Luke O'Neil /
Build a Giant Escalator Over the Wall  —  $1,658 of $200.0M goal Raised by 105 people in 21 hours  —  The wall is never going to be built but just in case it is we will build a series of giant escalators that are spaced out a half mile along the wall on either side and if that doesn't happen we'll …
Discussion: The Week, Washington Times and Mashable
Jonathan Andrews / ODNI Newsroom:
DNI Coats Statement on the Resignation of Secretary Mattis  —  I was deeply saddened to learn the news that General Mattis will resign from his post as Secretary of Defense at the end of February.  —  DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE  —  WASHINGTON, DC 20511  —  December 21, 2018
Discussion: Politico
Andrew Sullivan / New York Magazine:
The Establishment Will Never Say No to a War  —  The question before us is a relatively simple one: What would be the criteria for removing our remaining troops from the Iraqi, Syrian, and more general Middle Eastern conflicts?  Or, for that matter, from Afghanistan, where we have been trapped …
Ben Zimmer / The Atlantic:
Why Kirstjen Nielsen Sounds Like the Hulk  —  On a worrisome day in Washington—with a government shutdown looming and the defense secretary resigning—a clip of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen served as unexpected comic relief.  Nielsen, speaking before the House Judiciary Committee …
American Greatness:
In Defense of Philip Anschutz  —  The late William F. Buckley, Jr., published a book several decades ago titled Gratitude, in which, while making a case for mandatory community service, he argued that gratitude is one of the distinctively conservative virtues.
Jennifer Rubin / Washington Post:
Republicans are responsible for the Trump fiasco  —  Let's put aside for the moment the question of whether President Trump committed crimes in obtaining the presidency (conspiracy to violate campaign finance laws by hush-money payments or receipt of assistance from a foreign power) …
Discussion: Raw Story
Larry Celona / New York Post:
Eliot Spitzer snuck me into his apartment in a suitcase: ex-mistress … She ain't heavy, she's my lover.  —  Former Gov. Eliot Spitzer used to smuggle his Russian-escort mistress into the luxury Upper East Side home he shared with his wife — by stuffing her inside a piece of luggage, she told The Post.
Robert Morrison / The Guardian:
The death of our Siemens factory is the result of another Trump lie  —  Trump has the power to tell companies such as Siemens to keep plants open.  All he would have to do is sign an executive order  —  This week, days before Christmas, I will clock into my good, union job one last time.
Discussion: Raw Story
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 More Items: 
Steven Hayward / Power Line:
The Trump Doctrine and 2020  —  The events of the last 72 hours …
Discussion: Instapundit and The New Neo
In Immigrant Children's Shelters, Sexual Assault Cases Are Open and Shut
Rebecca Morin / Politico:
Trump pans Beto 2020 talk: ‘I thought you were supposed to win before you run for president’
Discussion: Political Wire
Neil MacFarquhar / New York Times:
Glee in Russia Over Trump's Foreign Policy Largess
Washington Post:
N.C. election officials sounded alarm about alleged election fraud to federal prosecutors in January 2017
Discussion: Political Wire
Jackie Salo / Page Six:
Is Sasha Obama headed to the University of Michigan?
Discussion: The Root and The Daily Caller
 Earlier Items: 
Alex Marshall / New York Times:
Barack Obama Joins Lin-Manuel Miranda on a ‘Hamilton’ Remix
Discussion: IJR and The Week
Matt Lewis / The Daily Beast:
What Does Trump Really Care About? What Ann Coulter Thinks
Michael Gerson / Washington Post:
If Trump's actions aren't impeachable, then what is?
Discussion: RedState
David Sims / The Atlantic:
Aquaman Has No Business Being This Good
Sonny Bunch / Washington Free Beacon:
‘Vice’ Review  —  The best superhero origin story of the year
Discussion: Instapundit
Tyler Pager / New York Times:
After Big Losses, a N.Y. House Republican Clashes With Her Party
Steven Shepard / Politico:
Gallup retreats from political polling again under new leadership
Discussion: Political Wire