Plenty to cover today, so let’s get started. As Adam Goldman reports for The New York Times, Taunted by Trump and Pressured From Above, McCabe Steps Down as F.B.I. Deputy. He tweets, “We r told that Mr. Wray found something concerning in pending IG report and he was going to move McCabe into another job, which was effectively a demotion. Instead, McCabe decided to leave the FBI.”
In the airing of grievances category, Carol Lee of NBC News reveals, Trump’s gripes against McCabe included wife’s politics, Comey’s ride home. Ari Melber summarizes, “NEW: Trump was so enraged by Comey boarding an FBI plane after his firing that he called Andrew McCabe to say the FBI should have stranded Comey in LA rather than flying him back. Then Trump told McCabe to ask his own wife what it's like to be a ‘loser.’” You know, “Just another normal interaction between a president and career law enforcement,” as Benjy Sarlin says.
But listen, “The President is vexed. Very vexed,” as Nick Coleman points out. He links to the latest from Jennifer Jacobs of Bloomberg Politics, On Flight to Davos, Trump Erupted Over DOJ Role in Russia Probe. Yes, the piece notes that John Kelly “has taken to ending such conversations with a disclaimer that the White House isn’t expecting officials to do anything illegal or unethical,” but Matt Ford says, “In fairness to John Kelly, this is how I end my phone calls too.”
It’s all narrative
“Welp here we go,” says Gideon Resnick. Nicholas Fandos of The New York Times reports, House Republicans Vote to Release Secret Memo on Russia Probe. Jim Roberts wonders, “Isn’t Devin Nunes’ zeal to release sensitive intel as potentially compromising as an unsecured server? Just asking.” Jamil Smith says, “The oddest thing about this is that @DevinNunes and his fellow Republicans truly expect this to guard Trump from any legal consequences. It’s all narrative, and they’re willing to wreck public trust in institutions to massage this charlatan’s insecurities.” Cody Lyon dubs it “Reckless idiocy.”
Meanwhile, in her first piece for The Atlantic, Natasha Bertrand takes a look at The Ethics Committee's Questionable Investigation of Devin Nunes.
“In non #MemoReleased news,” Kara Scannell directs you to US names Russian oligarchs in ‘Putin list’ but imposes no new sanctions, the report by Nicole Gaouette and Donna Borak of CNN. “There’s a lot happening today. Don’t let this get lost in the news mix,” tweets Dianne Gallagher.
The state of the union is: for sale
The State of the Union address is tonight, and Steve Holland of Reuters reports, Trump to tout strong economy in State of the Union after turbulent first year. Or it might go like this: “My fellow Americans, the state of the union is: for sale.” Philip Gourevitch is referring to Names of campaign donors to be flashed during live stream of Trump’s State of the Union speech, by John Wagner of The Washington Post. Your thoughts, Amanda Becker? “Wow. That’s the only word I can come up with currently.”
The first lady will be there, as Katie Rogers and Maggie Haberman of The New York Times report in Melania Trump, Out of Sight Since Report of Husband’s Infidelity, to Attend State of the Union. But, as Julie Davis tweets, “Post-Stormy Daniels news, FLOTUS is unpleased with the Mister & appears uninterested in acting otherwise.”
To quote Elena Schneider, “awkkkkkkkkkkk.” As POLITICO’s Heather Caygle spotted, Oops: House issues tickets for State of the ‘Uniom.’
While we’re in the category of oops, Julian Assange Thought He Was Messaging Sean Hannity When He Offered ‘News’ on Democrat Investigating Trump-Russia. He was actually messaging a technical writer in Texas who was “was bored with the flu when she created @SeanHannity__ early Saturday morning.” Ben Collins files that story for The Daily Beast.
That’s a lot of Donkey Sauce!
ProPublica’s Isaac Arnsdorf and Lena Groeger ask What Happened to All the Jobs Trump Promised? Spoiler, from Groeger, “Trump has promised millions of jobs since the election. We tracked down 31 of his claims – and found that most of them haven’t panned out.”
As for the people who worked at Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar, the answer’s pretty clear: Jared Kushner Played a Role in Guy Fieri’s Restaurant Closure, reports Stefanie Tuder of Eater. “Who says nobody writes positive stories about Jared Kushner?” as Charles Homans points out. Also, “That's a lot of Donkey Sauce!” says Michael Floreak. Joshua Brown speaks for many when he says, “I don’t know who to root for in Fieri vs Kushner.” But Aaron Sankin beckons, “Citizens of Flavor Town: Welcome to The Resistance.”
Elsewhere, Alberto Nardelli of BuzzFeed brings us this big scoop: The Government's Own Brexit Analysis Says The UK Will Be Worse Off In Every Scenario Outside The EU (31,000+ shares). Tweets Kevin Maguire, “Brextremists please read this then apologise.”
They aren’t dumb
“Oh good morning. Amazon and JPMorgan are forming a new company. Together,” tweets Tanaya Macheel. Another big story today, which Chitra Somayaji covers for Bloomberg in Amazon, Berkshire, JPMorgan to Set Up a Health Company for Staff. At The New York Times, Nick Wingfield writes, Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Team Up to Disrupt Health Care. “Fascinating move by three colossal corporate players. (And the tapeworm analogy is well used.),” says Kate Kelly, referring to Warren Buffett’s comment, “The ballooning costs of health care act as a hungry tapeworm on the American economy.” Cara Lombardo, Laura Stevens and Nicole Friedman cover the story for The Wall Street Journal, Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, JPMorgan to Partner on Health Care. Brian Fitzgerald thinks, “They aren't dumb. By providing as little info as possible, Amazon, Berkshire and JPM just set off a 24 national brainstorming session as a lot of smart people try to game what they will do.”
Disgusting and terrifying and upsetting
A Top Reuters Editor Was Fired After Sexual Harassment Allegations. Then He Got An Even Better Job At Newsweek, Rossalyn Warren reports for BuzzFeed. As Miriam Elder says, “Gah.” Or as Lainna Fader puts it, “This is disgusting and terrifying and upsetting.” Jay Cassano is “Feeling horrified for my female colleagues in the newsroom today, who had this history hidden from them. Great reporting from @RossalynWarren.”
In an exclusive for Vox, A. j. Chavar reports, Patrick Witty, top National Geographic photo editor, left after sexual harassment investigation. Chavar tweets, “In reporting this story, I spoke to over 20 women — primarily independent (or freelance) photographers and editors — who witnessed the alleged misconduct, were told about it when it happened, or experienced it themselves.”
Pulitzer prize-winning paper declares bankruptcy
Depressing news from West Virginia as its largest newspaper, the Gazette-Mail, is declaring bankruptcy; Wheeling Newspapers is planned buyer. Charleston Newspapers, the company that owns the Gazette-Mail, issued a WARN notice to all employees Monday afternoon. Some context, from Bill Grueskin: “Less than a year ago, this courageous paper won the Pulitzer for investigative reporting, having exposed drug distributors' complicity in West Va.’s opioid crisis. Now it's filing Chapter 11.”
Meanwhile, “Local newspapers have lost 40% of all journalists in the last decade as Facebook (and Google) have taken nearly all the new digital ad revenue, leaving local news with next-to-nothing,” notes Mike Rosenberg, who links to Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement, Our next update on our 2018 focus to make sure Facebook isn't just fun but also good for your well-being and for society. Tim Hanrahan says, “Once you get past the mild condescension that some may detect here, the deeper takeaway may be that Zuckerberg has run out of ideas on how to fix Facebook.”
Get your cardigans ready!!
After all that, “This is just the kinda news I needed today,” says Dorey Scheimer: Variety’s Justin Kroll reveals Tom Hanks’ Mr. Rogers Biopic ‘You Are My Friend’ Lands at TriStar (EXCLUSIVE). Or “another entry in the Tom Hanks Decent Man Cinematic Universe,” as David Sims puts it. “Get your cardigans ready!!” advises Patsy Brumfield.
And a few more: