The U.S. cut its embassy staff in Cuba and is urging that no one travel there, according to the AP’s sources, following "specific attacks" that have harmed American diplomats. Josh Lederman and Matthew Lee got the story. “Cuban Govt denies it’s behind attacks but narrowing of the opening between U.S and Cuba continues,” Linda Perry Barr explained.
Actually nice news
In what is truly the sweetest story you’ll read today, A kid walked into a GameStop wearing a Kaepernick jersey. Two NFL players bought him an Xbox. Scott Allen wrote that gem for the Washington Post. “Not many warm & fuzzy news stories these days…” Travis Reilly wrote. Herman Wong shared this curious quote from the piece: “The first thing I’m thinking is there’s some pedophile trying to buy my grandson an Xbox.”
For another feel-good piece, an Air Force Academy superintendent gave a 5-minute lecture on "the power of diversity" of race and gender that included, "Grab your phones." Now that’s how you go viral. “If you're starting to forget what a leader sounds like, we have a refreshing reminder to start your Friday,” Mike Allen from Axios tweeted.
Donald Trump Is Destroying Obamacare From Within, Gideon Resnick and Sam Stein explain in The Daily Beast. “This is the real Trump administration scandal,” Justin Miller tweeted.
Elsewhere at The Daily Beast, Asawin Suebsaeng reports that Trump Aides Are Confounded By His Hospital Lie but insist, ‘He’s Just, You Know, Doing His Thing.’ “I have yet to write a sentence that better explains the Trump presidency,” Suebsaeng added.
Trump is meeting with Kevin Warsh about the Fed Chairman job, Michael Bender writes in the Wall Street Journal.
And under his own tax plan, Trump Could Save More Than $1 Billion, Jesse Drucker and Nadja Popovich report in the New York Times. “‘I don’t benefit. I don’t benefit,’ Mr. Trump said on Wednesday. (He benefits),” Frederick Deknatel wrote. Clifford Levy added: “We did the math.”
Trouble in Trump world
Jared Kushner didn't tell Senators about his private email account, Jake Tapper reported at CNN.
Interior Secretary Zinke reportedly traveled on charter and military planes, according to Politico.
Washington Post’s Drew Harwell and Lisa Rein adds that Zinke took a $12,000 charter flight home in an oil executive’s plane. Brady Dennis is “Sensing a pattern…” “Wondering what @SenatorMenendez thinks reading this stuff,” Herb Jackson tweeted.
Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price apparently also took military jets to Europe and Asia for over $500,000, Politico adds.
About Puerto Rico
The Media Really Has Neglected Puerto Rico, according to Five Thirty Eight’s Dhrumil Mehta. To put it into perspective, Mehta tweeted: “The crisis in #PuertoRico ?? is getting less media attention than Florida & Texas did, (both on TV News and Online).”
In the Washington Post, Ed O'Keefe adds that the U.S. responded to Haiti’s quake more forcefully than it has to the Puerto Rico disaster. "I think it’s a fair ask why we’re not seeing a similar command and response,” O’Keefe tweeted from his peice.
Social media interference
Twitter finds hundreds of accounts tied to Russian operatives, reads a headline from Elizabeth Dwoskin and Adam Entous at the Washington Post. David Filipov reacted with: “Will wonders never cease.”
Here is the statement from Twitter on Bots, & Misinformation, or what it presented to congress about Russian Interference in 2016 US Election.
Speaking of social media being used against the U.S. democratic system, DOJ demands Facebook info from 'anti-administration activists,’ according to CNN’s Jessica Schneider. “The small government true conservatives crave,” Ashley Feinberg added.
CNN also has an exclusive that fake black activist social media accounts were linked to Russian government, Donie O'Sullivan and Dylan Byers report.
Other things to note
Be sure to check out Jia Tolentino’s New Yorker piece about The Repressive, Authoritarian Soul of “Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends” has a lot of people shook. Jia called it, “A piece I care about deeply.” Heidi Moore “had no idea.” And David Sims confessed: “Shining Time Station is the first TV show I ever loved.”
Mary Jordan and Kevin Sullivan covered The new reality of old age in America for the Washington Post. “There's a generation of Americans who are finding it too costly to retire,” Jenna Johnson explained.
Just this tweet from Maggie Haberman: “Am I seeing this correctly and the Daily Caller made a vid of Thrush saying ‘chutzpah’ w hava nagila playing?”