The most plausible hypothesis
Michael Balter articulates the burning questions on all our minds: “Was Roger Stone full of shit when he told #Bannon he knew about the #Wikileaks email drops, or is he full of shit now when he denies he did? I'm going with the most plausible hypothesis, and I'm sure #Mueller will have the evidence to back it up.” He links to the new story by Sharon LaFraniere, Michael Schmidt, Maggie Haberman and Danny Hakim of The New York Times, Roger Stone Sold Himself as a WikiLeaks Pipeline to Trump’s Campaign. Was He?
On Twitter, Rosalind Helderman of The Washington Post reveals, “On Tuesday, Roger Stone told us there were ‘no’ communications between him and Trump campaign officials about Wikileaks. ‘And if Bannon says there are he would be dissembling,’ he added. Now NYT publishes exchange between Bannon and Stone about Wikileaks.”
Adam Goldman highlights: “Unable to reach Mr. Bannon, Mr. Stone communicated with Matthew Boyle, the Washington political editor of the far-right Breitbart News. ‘Assange — what’s he got?’ Mr. Boyle asked Mr. Stone on Oct. 3. ‘Hope it’s good.’” “So a Breitbart reporter took it upon himself to make sure that Steve Bannon got in touch with Roger Stone?” asks Daniel Drezner. Either way, says Bradley P. Moss, “What I love is how Stone’s defense is that he can’t actually have committed a crime because he’s apparently a con artist who misled everyone about how much he actually knew.”
As for the receipts, Schmidt tweets, “NEW: Emails we’ve obtained show how Bannon considered Stone a conduit to Wikileaks .. how closely Breitbart was tied to the campaign .. and how Stone asked Bannon to have Rebecca Mercer send money for his efforts to undermine Clinton.” From Schmidt, Mark Mazzetti, Haberman and LaFraniere of The New York Times, Read the Emails: The Trump Campaign and Roger Stone.
Turns out, Trump’s Surprise Border Mission is a Politically Motivated Waste Of Money. At least, that’s what Pentagon sources are telling Newsweek’s James LaPorta and Nicole Goodkind. LaPorta tweets, “#BREAKING new this morning at @Newsweek - The deployment of U.S. troops to the southern border took the #Pentagon by surprise leaving senior officers believing the directive was a politically motivated waste of money.” How obvious is the stunt? As one source told them, “If Ray Charles was deaf he could still tell you that this is just an election stunt.”
Not only racist, but a lie
So, about that new campaign video featuring Luis Bracamontes. Nicholas Riccardi links to some “Important context on Trump’s inflammatory Twitter ad: The convicted killer he mentions was released early by Joe Arpaio’s office and illegally returned to the US during George W Bush’s administration. Democrats had nothing to do with it.” Those inconvenient details are courtesy of the fact check by Sam Stanton of the Sacramento Bee, Trump’s claim that Democrats let cop killer stay in U.S. is false. As Karen Tumulty says, “Trump’s new video is not only racist, but a lie. Take it from the @sacbee_news, for which this was a local story.”
Michael Daly of The Daily Beast also reports that Luis Bracamontes, Cop-Killer in Trump’s Twitter Video, Actually Came Back to U.S. Under Bush. And, he points out, Trump failed to mention that Bracamontes used an AR-15, a weapon that Republicans, including the president, don’t want to outlaw.
While we’re at it, the latest numbers are in from the fact-checking team of Glenn Kessler, Salvador Rizzo and Meg Kelly at The Washington Post: President Trump has made 6,420 false or misleading claims over 649 days.
According to a new report by Juliet Eilperin, Josh Dawsey and Lisa Rein of The Washington Post, the White House is concerned Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke violated federal rules. Although…“They've never been concerned before, why now?” wonders Michelangelo Signorile. As a reminder, this is “The fourth Trump cabinet official this type of headline applies to,” Robbie Gramer points out.
This probably isn’t important
Peter Schorsch is referring to the big story this morning by Zach Dorfman and Jenna McLaughlin of Yahoo News, which reveals that The CIA’s communications suffered a catastrophic compromise. It started in Iran. “Holy crap. The Iranians compromised a highly sensitive CIA covert communications system by basically *Googling* it — and could see who was visiting it and from where — compromising CIA assets. A major scoop by @JennaMC_Laugh and @zachsdorfman,” tweets Zack Whittaker. McLaughlin notes, “Technology is hard. Bureaucracy is slow. Spying in places where we don't have diplomats is often next to impossible. But sometimes, people die because of it.”
Deal or no deal
Javier Blas calls this one a “MUST READ”: The U.S. has agreed to let eight countries — including Japan, India and South Korea — keep buying Iranian oil after it re-imposes sanctions on the OPEC producer on Nov. 5, according to Bloomberg’s Nick Wadhams. Tweets Gordon Chang. “#Trump administration is considering giving #China a waiver from #IranSanctions. Given Beijing's increasingly dangerous behavior, we should be sanctioning China at every possible opportunity, not looking for ways to relieve pressure.”
Meanwhile, “ALL GREEN in #Asia. If you still don't know why, read this,” advises Fion Li, who links to Trump Said to Ask Cabinet to Draft Possible Trade Deal With Xi, the scoop by Bloomberg’s Jenny Leonard, Saleha Mohsin and Jennifer Jacobs. The key word here is “possible.” Tweets Eamon Javers, “NEW: A senior administration official tells me that the report president Trump is ready to cut a trade deal with China is not true. ‘There is a long way to go’ on negotiations, the official said.” Bloomberg’s Shawn Donnan responds, “Let's be clear. The overnight Bloomberg @business scoop from @jendeben et al is that the president asked cabinet officials to draft outlines of a POSSIBLE deal following Xi call. Also clear any deal faces both internal resistance and long road ahead…”
Jared? He’ll believe anything we tell him
Eric Walz links to the new report by John Hudson, Souad Mekhennet and Carol Leonnig of The Washington Post, Saudi crown prince described slain journalist as a dangerous Islamist in call with White House. Tweets Hudson, “SCOOP: Saudi Crown Prince MBS privately disparaged Khashoggi as a dangerous Islamist in a phone call with Jared Kushner and John Bolton. Big contrast with MBS’s public statements decrying Khashoggi's death. New story by me and @smekhennet and @CarolLeonnig.” Michael Balter wonders, “What intel about #Khashoggi did #Kushner share with the Saudis during his earlier visit with the Crown Prince? Especially about dissidents living in the US?”
Boss, friend and now hero
Karen Attiah says, “This was heartbreaking to read and edit. NPR’s chief business editor speaks out about being raped by M.J. Akbar some 23 years ago in India.” In a new Washington Post op-ed, NPR’s Pallavi Gogoi reveals, I was raped by M.J. Akbar when I was a journalist in India. Here is my story. David Folkenflik calls it “A painful, tough personal #MeToo account from my boss, friend and now hero @pgogoi about a powerful politician in her native India. She edited my #MeToo coverage rigorously and fairly. I never knew any of this.” On Twitter, Gogoi offers “Thanks to the journalists who have spoken out before me. I stand on their shoulders.” Adds Nivedita Bhattacharjee, “good on the Post for running this. Now what, @PMOIndia? #TimesUp.”
Here’s a crazy story, or as Zach Carter puts it, “Some top-shelf politicking from Democratic Party fundraisers here.” HuffPost’s Paul Blumenthal and Alexander Thorburn-Winsor found out that Someone Paid Thousands Of Foreigners 20 Cents Each To Hide HuffPost’s Negative Coverage Of A Democratic PAC. As a result, HuffPost’s story about End Citizens United dropped to the second page of Google search results from right near the top. Meanwhile, “Every time one of my stories doesn’t do well, I’m going to tell myself this is why,” says Amanda Terkel.
‘Served’ by Gannett
From Ken Doctor at Neiman Lab, your latest Newsonomics: “Digital defeats print” is the headline as Gannett steps away from printed election results — about which, Chris Krewson says, “It's getting harder and harder to imagine what a newspaper printed daily is for if it isn't the results of a local election.” As Jason Dean points out, “There are a lot of people in rural America (and WI) that don't have reliable access to internet, or are older and don't use technology. Many areas ‘served’ by Gannett. They'll need to turn elsewhere for election results.” Angel Rodriguez notes, “When the LA Times pushed deadlines to get in a World Series game that went past 1230am we got so much love from our readers. The decision to not put election results in the paper seems really odd.”
Joshua Benton asks a good question: “This comes at a time when most papers still generate most of their revenue from a loyal but rapidly shrinking print subscriber base. Is giving them a worse product every morning helping drive them to digital...or just pushing more of them to quit reading?”
Don’t miss this line
Benton himself has a new story about digital for Neiman Lab, reporting that The New York Times is on pace to earn more than $600 million in digital this year, halfway to its ambitious goal. Nicholas Riccardi is “Pausing to recall with great anger how digital evangelists told us ‘information wants to be free’ and scolded anyone who wanted to charge for the work of journalists, which turns out to be an excellent way to keep media alive.” But Christine Schmidt also wants to make sure you “Don’t miss this line: ‘Take 98 percent of whatever energy you devote to worrying about the future of the @nytimes and rechannel it into worrying about your local daily, which is very likely approaching existential crisis.’”
What a bunch of asshats
A fight broke out among Maryland football players at practice in the wake of the Durkin drama, and Luke Broadwater of the Baltimore Sun has the details. “Mhm, nothing ‘toxic’ here 🙄🙄🙄” as Ulysses Munoz tweets. Adds Alan Clemons, “Yeah, this is all going peachy for the Terps. Beating up a guy for talking with investigators? What a bunch of asshats.” The point, says Andrew Das, is that “Maryland football needs a loooooooooong timeout.”
This weekend, “Read this, and anything else that you can find written by @alexanderchee,” advises Lucy Scholes. The “this” she’s referring to is The First Time I Moved to New York, Alexander Chee’s new Longreads essay. Chee explains, “It took writing this for me to realize how often a shared love for a book was at the center of my friendships. For @Longreads fundraising drive, a look back at my first year in NY.”
Also in Longreads, “this story about the Strand union’s contract fight is a good reminder of the literary world’s ongoing hostility to labor. the last time a book publisher successfully unionized was 2001!” Jess Bergman links to The State of the Bookstore Union, by Rebecca McCarthy, who notes, “I wrote about the Strand’s negotiations and bookstore unions at large. An abbreviated version of this was going to run in the Village Voice before it was shut down, so tyvm to @Longreads for picking it up! Join their membership drive!”
Making the rounds:
“A searing portrait by @TylerHicksPhoto of an emaciated 7-year-old Yemeni girl, for our story on hunger in Yemen, drew a huge response from readers. Today I learned that the girl, Amal Hussain, has died.” Declan Walsh of The New York Times reveals, Yemen Girl Who Turned World’s Eyes to Famine Is Dead (115,000+ shares), and Andrea Mitchell asks, “What will it take for the world to pay attention?”
“A @ProPublica analysis found election computer servers in Wisconsin and Kentucky could be susceptible to hacking. Wisconsin shut down its service in response to our inquiries.” Read about that in Jack Gillum and Jeff Kao’s piece for ProPublica, File-Sharing Software on State Election Servers Could Expose Them to Intruders.
File this one under “Harassed for saving lives while black,” says Peter Lipson. ‘Are You Actually an M.D.?’: Black Doctor Is Questioned as She Intervenes on a Delta Flight, reports Christine Hauser of The New York Times.
Michael Bender and Courtney McBride of The Wall Street Journal report that Heather Nauert, a former Fox News correspondent currently serving as the chief communications official at the State Department, is expected to be nominated to serve as U.S. ambassador to the U.N.
So, how could Brexit Bad Boy Arron Banks afford to give £8m to the Leave campaign...and why did Theresa May stop security services probing him before the referendum? Richard Pendlebury has some answers in a new report for The Daily Mail, about which Carole Cadwalladr tweets, “Extraordinary claims in @DailyMailUK about @theresa_may refusing intelligence services request to investigate @arron_banks. Note: @tom_watson also made this claim at Labour conference as reported in @guardian. Absolutely vital that May responds to this.”
Lisa Lerer of The New York Times noticed that No One Wants to Campaign with Bill Clinton Anymore.
Jeff Cox of CNBC reports on the latest job numbers: US created 250,000 jobs in Oct, vs 190,000 jobs expected.
And finally, some news from the dinosaur egg beat. On NPR’s All Things Considered, Nell Greenfieldboyce informs us that Birds Got Their Colorful, Speckled Eggs From Dinosaurs. “Because of course,” as Kate Hinds tweets. James Gorman of The New York Times takes a look at The Great Speckled Dinosaur Egg, and Michael Roston points out, “The upshot of this new research into dinosaur eggs is that THERE MAY HAVE BEEN CUCKOO DINOSAURS.”