Max Eddy dusts off that old standby in response to the breaking news reported by Matthew Rosenberg, Adam Goldman and Michael Schmidt in The New York Times last night that the Obama administration rushed to preserve intelligence of Russian election hacking (30,000+ shares). “How's @seanspicer gunna spin this,” wonders Emily Cahn. “Well, well, well...” says Paul LaRosa. “The plot thickens,” adds Orin Kerr. The story also highlights “Intellipedia, a secret wiki used by American intelligence analysts to share information,” as Stephanie Buck tweets. “This is the next puzzle piece but I feel like this puzzle has endless pieces & we're never gonna finish the thing,” says Gavin Purcell. “...and another Russia story drops,” says Benjy Sarlin. “We aren't even two months in and already the Russia stories are a flood,” is how Hayes Brown puts it. “Russia. Trump. Part IV of a series that seems unlikely to end soon or well,” concludes Francis Wilkinson.
And...“The hits just keep coming,” tweets Neela Banerjee, as news also broke last night that Attorney General Jeff Sessions met with the Russian ambassador twice last year and failed to disclose it during his confirmation hearing. “Hoo boy,” says Cameron Joseph. The scoop, reported in the Washington Post by Adam Entous, Ellen Nakashima and Greg Miller, revealed, as Dan Zak explains, “A private convo took place in Sept. in the senator’s office, at the height of the alleged Russian cyber campaign.” “Aaaaaaand there it is,” tweets Ben Roazen. Says Philip Bump: “Smoke Detected.”
But why stop there when it “Keeps getting crazier,” as David Enrich tweets. Carol Lee, Christopher Stewart, Rob Barry and Shane Harris report in The Wall Street Journal that Investigators probed Sessions’ contacts with Russian officials during election campaign. Evan Smith notes, “And now the @wsj weighs in on Sessions and Russia. 4 bylines.” But this may help explain things: Alexander Nazaryan tweets, “‘Beauregard’ in Russian translates to ‘Don't worry, nobody's gonna know.’”
The overnight bombshells had many retweeting this rhetorical question from @WakeUp2Politics: “Do newspapers matter?” which references the “3 biggest stories right now” from the Washington Post, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.
“Good way to go to jail.”
And now, reports Karoun Demirjian in the Washington Post, top Republicans, including House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Jason Chaffetz, have called on Sessions to recuse himself from the Russia investigation. Says Jennifer Rubin, “If he is smart he will recuse and hope the investig about claim of lying to Congress goes nowhere.” Top Democrats, meanwhile, are calling for his resignation. And, as Brooke E. Seipel reports for The Hill that George W. Bush’s ethics lawyer calls Sessions's talks with Russia a “Good way to go to jail,” we learn that “Jeff Sessions tells NBC News: 'I will recuse myself' if necessary,” tweets Catherine Kim. In a “story [that] will continue to unravel throughout the day,” as Peter Zampa says, Aaron Blake reports in the Washington Post that Jeff Sessions’s denials of contact with Russians are falling apart quickly.
V v interesting.
Meanwhile, John Hudson of Foreign Policy has this exclusive: Trump Taps Putin Critic for Senior White House Position. “V v interesting - Fiona Hill, author of an excellent and critical book on Putin, to join White House,” tweets John Fraher. Edward Lucas adds, “This is terrific news -- shrewd brainy witty articulate principled Fiona Hill running WH Russia policy.” Patrick Tucker’s take: “Intense media focus on #russiagate produces another positive development. Not every victory looks like a resignation.”
“Hold on. What?”
“In news worthy of a Lifetime original movie,” Margaret Abrams refers you to the Page Six story by Emily Smith that Beau Biden’s widow is having affair with his married brother. “Hold on. What?” asks Jake Sherman. He isn’t the only one who’s surprised by the news.” “I did not expect this,” says Blake Hounshell. “Yikes,” says Michelle Fields. “Damn,” says Alexander C. Kaufman. Not to mention, “Holy on-the-record comments, Batman!” notes Annie Lowrey. As Jillian Jorgensen points out, “The most remarkable part of this story is that it's on the record.” “Just a weird, weird story,” says Jay Mishkin.
Also making the rounds:
“Of course they did,” tweets Matthew Yglesias of the news, reported by Isaac Arnsdorf and Josh Dawsey in POLITICO, that Trump’s team rejected an ethics course for White House staff.
“What's going on at Trump's State Department? ‘No one’s doing anything,’ one mid-level staffer told @juliaioffe,” tweets Clare Foran of the piece by Julia Ioffe and James Fallows in The Atlantic, The State of Trump’s State Department (16,000+ shares). Says Keith Johnson, “This @juliaioffe tour of an empty and disoriented State Dept. is amazing.”
“Moments after an immigrant spoke at a press conference about her fears of deportation, she was detained by ICE,” tweets Chelsea Kiene, linking to reporting by Sarah Fowler in the Clarion-Ledger that “Daniela Vargas, 22, was detained by ICE agents Wednesday morning, shortly after speaking at a news conference in downtown Jackson [Miss.].”
And finally, Hugo Rifkind of The Spectator wants you to know, “I wrote this to upset people.” The “this” he’s referring to—The real reason Nigel Farage hates Douglas Carswell— is, as Iain Aitch tweets, “A beautiful take down of Farage (and his drip-fed circular Human Centipede relationship with Banks).”