Wow. Big flip
The big news last night was the release of the Michael Flynn sentencing memo, and by reading around the rows and rows of black boxes, we learned that the Mueller team believes Flynn Was a Key Cooperator and Deserves Little Prison Time, as Adam Goldman and Eileen Sullivan report for The New York Times. One tidbit that wasn’t redacted: “Wow. Michael Flynn sat for NINETEEN interviews with Mueller,” as Nicholas Thompson tweets.
Carol Leonnig, Rosalind Helderman and Devlin Barrett cover the story at The Washington Post in their report, Mueller seeks no prison time for former national security adviser Michael Flynn, citing his ‘substantial assistance,’ and there’s a lot of interest in what’s behind those boxes. Tweets Leonnig, “STILL SECRET Check out the big hints that Mueller drops in this filing about all the help Flynn has given him on another matter -- not related to transition contacts with Russia -- and in another criminal investigation -- that are still under wraps.” As Kim Masters puts it, “Wow. Big flip.” Or Dave Pell’s version: “Flynn flipped fully.”
In their report, Flynn has given “substantial” assistance to the special counsel (96,000+ shares), Katelyn Polantz and Jeremy Herb of CNN write, “The sheer amount of redacted text in the filing suggests those details are not ready to be unveiled, signaling that Mueller’s investigation continues, along with other investigations that Flynn helped with.” Meanwhile, tweets John Nichols, “If Trump is right when he says that this inquiry is a ‘witch hunt,’ then it appears that Mr. Mueller has found a witch.”
At The Atlantic, Natasha Bertrand writes that Mueller’s Sentencing Memo for Flynn Doubles as a Warning to Manafort, who allegedly lied to prosecutors even after signing a cooperation deal. As she tweets, “Trump has been urging his associates to have ‘guts’ and not cooperate in the Russia probe. But Mueller sent a clear message tonight to current/future witnesses: testify honestly and completely, and you could be spared prison time.”
Meanwhile, Philip Gourevitch wonders, “Is this the answer to: Redacted + Redacted = x?” Tami Abdollah of The Associated Press reports that the attorneys general of the District of Columbia and Maryland plan to file subpoenas seeking records from the Trump Organization, the IRS and dozens of other entities as part of a lawsuit accusing Donald Trump of profiting off the presidency.
New from Betsy Woodruff and Erin Banco at The Daily Beast, Paul Erickson, who served as accused Kremlin spy Maria Butina’s guide as she penetrated the American conservative movement, is now under investigation as a Russian agent, too. Woodruff points out, “If charged under Section 951, as DOJ is considering, Erickson could be the first American embroiled in the Russia situation to face an espionage charge.”
And the scoop from Alex Isenstadt and John Bresnahan of POLITICO, thousands of sensitive emails were stolen from top NRCC officials in a major 2018 hack, and Republican leaders were not informed until POLITICO contacted committee officials about the incident.
After a briefing from CIA Director Gina Haspel, GOP senators come out and say it: The Trump administration is covering up Khashoggi’s killing (50,000+ shares). That’s the analysis by The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake, who emphasizes on Twitter, “These comments from Graham and Corker are stunning -- especially since they implicate Pompeo and Mattis in the Khashoggi cover-up.” He adds, “This Graham quote in particular: ‘If they were in a Democratic administration, I would be all over them for being in the pocket of Saudi Arabia.’” As Trip Gabriel puts it, “Trump, Pompeo, Mattis: No smoking gun in Khashogghi murder. GOP senators: ‘If the crown prince went in front of a jury, he would be convicted in 30 minutes.’”
As the year comes to an end, a chilling statistic: More than 30 journalists, including Jamal Khashoggi, have been murdered so far in 2018. At The Guardian, Aamna Mohdin and Bibi van der Zee pay tribute to some of those ‘Killed for speaking the truth’: nine journalists murdered in 2018 – Maharram Durrani, Jefferson Lopes, Ibrahim al-Munjar, Ján Kuciak, Leslie Ann Pamela Montenegro del Real, Musa Abdul Kareem, Rob Hiaasen, Shujaat Bukhari and Paúl Rivas Bravo. Tweets Kwame McKenzie, “Across the world journalists are being killed. It is worth taking a few moments to remember them and the risks they take for us.”
Just bananas reading
Moving on to another big story, “NYTimes previews report on sexual misconduct allegations against Les Moonves prepared for CBS board, including investigators' claim that he ‘received oral sex from at least 4 CBS employees under circumstances that sound transactional.’ Wow.” Eric Deggans links to that preview, by Rachel C. Abrams and Edmund Lee at The New York Times, Les Moonves Obstructed Investigation Into Misconduct Claims, Report Says. Lacey Rose highlights this “Disturbing nugget of many: he turned over his son’s iPad instead of his own.” As Katie Robertson says, “The @nytimes @RachelAbramsNY and @edmundlee on the draft internal report on Les Moonves is just bananas reading, and includes an employee ‘on call’ for oral sex, the destroying of evidence and decades of alleged misconduct.”
More on that from The Times’ Abrams and David Enrich, ‘Transactional’ Sex and a Secret Resignation Letter: Takeaways From a Report on Les Moonves. Tweets Staci D. Kramer, “What’s new in the Moonves report draft? A secret resignation letter draft and some things I really don’t want to type here.” Adds Sam Rubin, “I have never worked for CBS but what an usual benefits package they seem to offer to some employees.”
Oliver Darcy of CNN is reporting that the fate of The Weekly Standard is uncertain, tweeting, “Scoop: The fate of @weeklystandard is uncertain, Editor-in-Chief Stephen Hayes told staff in a series of phone calls today. The magazine's precarious position comes after its leadership spent months searching for a buyer after butting heads w/current owner.” Many echo the sentiment by Farai Chideya, who tweets, “I’m hoping they survive...Important part of ideological spectrum.” But “Should this happen, the Weekly Standard has a team of excellent reporters who you should hire,” notes Katherine Miller.
Julianna Goldman writes in The Atlantic about why It's Almost Impossible to Be a Mom in Television News. She explains, “This was a personal story to share, but it was impt to take a closer look at the culture for moms in TV news. Thank you to those who shared their stories. No industry is immune from anti-mom bias & these times call for a reexamination across the board.” Norah O'Donnell calls it a “Huge loss for us at @CBSNews Thank you @juliannagoldman for sharing your story and others.” Adds Karen Travers, “Thank you for writing this piece @juliannagoldman. This is sparking a LOT of conversation and that's a good thing.”
Meanwhile, No More “We Can’t Find Any Black Female Writers”: Here Are 62 Scribes in One Photo, thanks to Rebecca Sun and The Hollywood Reporter’s largest photo shoot ever, capturing members of Black Women Who Brunch, a networking group co-founded by Lena Waithe.
Trump crosses the street
And now, the story of “A journey of 250 yards, involving the presidential parade limousine and ‘a motorcade of at least seven other vehicles.’ @realDonaldTrump crosses the street, by @DavidNakamura,” tweets David Gura. As David Nakamura of The Washington Post writes, President Trump traveled 250 yards to greet George W. Bush. He used a stretch limo and an eight-vehicle motorcade to make the trip (74,000+ shares). Tweets The Post, “The Trumps’ use of a motorcade to visit the presidential guest quarters prompts questions and speculation about why they didn’t simply walk across the street.”
Meanwhile, markets don’t like uncertainty, and Tuesday was a good example of that. In their new piece for The Washington Post, ‘Chaos breeds chaos’: Trump’s erratic and false claims roil the globe. Again, Damian Paletta and Philip Rucker explain, “The whiplash nature of Trump’s economic policies and pronouncements bore tangible consequences on Tuesday, when U.S. stock markets cratered amid investor skepticism of Trump’s China talks.”
Matt Viser of The Washington Post reports that Beto O’Rourke met with Barack Obama as he ponders a 2020 presidential campaign. Meanwhile, sources tell Natasha Korecki, Kyle Cheney and Stephanie Murray of POLITICO that Deval Patrick is going to announce that he won’t run for president.
The latest from AP News, Wisconsin Legislature OKs weakening governor, AG. Kelly Cohen tweets, ”THIS SHOULD BE MAJOR NEWS EVERYWHERE: ‘The Republican-controlled Wisconsin Senate has passed a sweeping measure taking power away from the incoming Democratic governor and attorney general, and reducing how long early voting can take place.’”
Ben Smith is “Enjoying watching Twitter wake up to this utterly bananas tour de force of reporting on #NC09 from @o_tilli_a & @bri_sacks.” Brianna Sacks and Otillia Steadman of BuzzFeed News go Inside The North Carolina Republican Vote Machine: Cash, Pills — And Ballots. Daniel Dale observes, “Canadian reporters in the US have long marvelled about how much easier it is to get Americans talk to us than to get Canadians, but some of the characters in the NC fraud story are truly next-level talkers to media.” As Kate Nocera says, “The details in this @bri_sacks and @o_tilli_a story on the NC9 operation are just stunning.”
Where in the world is Bill de Blasio? At The New York Times, William Neuman writes about New York’s Vanishing Mayor. Tweets David Chen, “Casual Fridays: @willieneuman looks at de Blasio’s schedules, and finds a distracted mayor who rarely meets commissioners and showed up at City Hall just 4 of 39 Fridays this year.”
No, we don’t
In a column for The New York Times reflecting on the tributes to George H.W. Bush, Ross Douthat discusses Why We Miss the WASPs, and John Micek points out, “No, we don't miss the WASPs.” Max Read has another idea: “maybe instead of a more responsible ‘elite’ class we need a ‘non-elite’ class -- let's call that class, i don't know, ‘labor’? -- with more leverage” Dan Zak shares, “I read the subhed like five times to make sure I wasn’t hallucinating: ‘Their more meritocratic, diverse and secular successors rule us neither as wisely nor as well’(!?!)” Naomi Klein sees it as a teachable moment, tweeting, “Journalism students, take a lesson from @DouthatNYT’s ‘Why We Miss the WASPs’: when gauging what ‘we’ all feel, it’s important to base those conclusions exclusively on quotes from not one but *two* former editors of the New Republic. It’s called research.”