'Made Kelly so uncomfortable'
The big Trump news yesterday was that he sought top-secret security clearance for Jared Kushner last year despite concerns of John Kelly and intelligence officials. Josh Dawsey, Seung Min Kim, and Shane Harris got the story for the Washington Post. They write that the “move made Kelly so uncomfortable that he documented the request in writing, according to current and former administration officials.” Yikes.
More congressional hearings on the horizon
House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings said that the committee will seek interviews with Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump after Michael Cohen’s revelations on Wednesday, per Zachary Basu at Axios.
Meanwhile, the House intelligence community Will Call Trump Organization Moneyman Allen Weisselberg To Testify, according to The Daily Beast’s Spencer Ackerman. Julia Arciga had but one reaction: “!!!”
If we can go back to the Michael Cohen hearing for a second, the Washington Post’s Tracy Jan covered the latest in Lynne Patton’s never-ending audition for reality TV. “For those wondering about @LynnePatton's cameo at the #CohenHearing this week . . . HUD rejected her request last year to star in a reality TV show by the producers of #RealHousewivesofPotomac and #ShahsofSunset. She seems to be auditioning anyway,” Jan tweeted.
Trump in Vietnam
While in Vietnam meeting with the North Korean dictator, Trump defended Kim Jong Un over the death of Otto Warmbier. “He tells me he didn't know,” Josh Dawsey, who reported the piece for the Washington Post, quote Trump saying: “Trump’s defense mirrors his willingness to often take the word of autocrats when it comes to human rights.” For reference, Warmbier was the American college student whose family says was “brutally tortured” while imprisoned in North Korea and died in 2017 after being flown back to the United States in a coma.
Indeed, Otto Warmbier's parents contradicted Trump and still blame North Korean leader Kim Jung Un for the death of their son, per Elisha Fieldstadt at NBC News.
Be sure to read Nahal Toosi at Politico for a look Inside the Chaotic Early Days of Trump’s Foreign Policy. “They Created an Underground,” the story alleges.
What else is happening in our government?
At HuffPost, Daniel Marans and Paul Blumenthal take us Behind Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's Masterful Interrogation Of Michael Cohen. Marans tweeted, “Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) made it look easy, but staff worked with her for days to prepare her questions for Michael Cohen. @paulblu and I spoke to @AOC’s staff about her now-viral examination.” Josh Eidelson shared this epic quote from the piece: "One advantage Ocasio-Cortez has over some colleagues is that she consistently attends even the most mundane committee hearings since she does not spend any of her day calling donors for money."
In another part of Congress, Nancy Pelosi tells moderate Democrats to stop voting with the GOP. She included the phrase, “This is not a day at the beach.” Heather Caygle and John Bresnahan reported that piece for Politico.
A narrow needle to thread
Imprisoned Reuters Reporter Kyaw Soe Oo Is Ill, his wife told Lu cy at The Irrawaddy. “He is my husband. I want to take good care of him. But I can’t do it. So I’m really worried for him. I wish I could get inside the prison to take care of him,” Ma Chit Su Win said.
According to Mike Allen at Axios, Jonah Goldberg and Steve Hayes will launch a new Trump-skeptical, conservative media company. Goldberg is leaving National Review in the coming months while Hayes had been the editor-in-chief of The Weekly Standard. Scot Bertram wished them well, “I like reading them both immensely and wish them luck. It seems like a narrow needle to thread, but if anyone can do it…”
Soleil Ho tweeted “Here they are! F I V E restaurant reviews, plus a couple of snack-sized essays on how I'm going to do my job. this is the link to all of them, but I'll embed each review into this thread as well.” Read those Bay Area Restaurant reviews in the San Francisco Chronicle.
Esteemed writer Roxane Gay tweeted: “I am hiring a deputy editor for a new project. Details here. Don't ask me a million questions. The job ad is pretty straightforward.” The most delightful thing is this warning above the Google doc: “Some tools might be unavailable due to heavy traffic in this file.”
When you become the story
Over at ProPublica, Marshall Allen published: I’m a Journalist. Apparently, I’m Also One of America’s “Top Doctors.” Allen admitted, “My latest for @ProPublica is amusing, absurd and says a lot about medical industry marketing.” Michael Grabell shared, “When he told them he wasn’t a doctor, he was a journalist, they said it was okay & still gave him the honor!” Maggie Fox pointed out, “These are similar to ‘Top high school student’ scams that extort money from naive parents.”
“@katiebindley took countless steps to curtail how Facebook tracks her. So why does she still see ads eerily relevant to her recent behavior?” Patience Haggin tweeted. That piece from Katherine Bindley at the Wall Street Journal is: Facebook Ads Will Follow You, Even When Your Privacy Settings Are Dialed Up. Read it and weep at our lack of privacy.
WTF is Momo?
At The Guardian, Jim Waterson writes that the Viral “Momo challenge” is a malicious hoax, say charities. Ross McCafferty added that “Press coverage of Momo challenge 'raising the risk of harm.’”
But from The Atlantic, comes a contradicting report that Momo Is Not Trying to Kill Children, courtesy of Taylor Lorenz. Lorenz tweeted: “Please read my piece on how THE MOMO CHALLENGE IS NOT REAL but these hoaxes tap into people's deep-seated fears abt the internet and distract from the real dangers online.” “This hoax extends beyond Britain, and is insanely stupid and harmful,” Prashant Rao said. Justin Salhani added, “When I was young it was the headlights challenge.”
And in New York Magazine, Madison Malone Kircher asked a worthwhile question about this whole Momo thing: How Are Kids Supposed to Learn to Be Smart Online If Adults Are Such Big Dummies?
Thomas Gibbons-Neff and Julian Barnes at the New York Times told us yesterday that under its proposed peace plan, the U.S. Military Would Exit Afghanistan Within Five Years. Barnes pointed out that “new plan that would refocus troops for [the] remaining time on counterterrorism.”
In Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to shuffle his cabinet today, CBC’s David Cochrane reported.
BBC wrote that the British government will pay £33m to Eurotunnel over the Brexit ferry case, after being accused of a "secretive" process over no-deal Brexit ferry contracts. Steve Clark called it “A disgusting waste of taxpayers' money.”
Also from the BBC, news that the “Right To Rent” legislation which tried to prevent illegal immigrants from renting properties is incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights, based on a High Court ruling.
In Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will stand trial for bribery and breach of trust, pending a hearing, Raoul Wootliff at the Times Of Israel wrote. “🚨Breaking news out of Israel🚨” Nathan McDermott tweeted, “Benjamin Netanyahu is charged with criminal wrongdoing on three counts including bribery and fraud. This is the first time in Israel's history that a Prime Minister has been indicted.”
For another take on the Netanyahu arrest, read Paul Goldman and Yuliya Talmazan at NBC News: Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu indicted on bribe and fraud charges.
Ilhan Omar Accused the Israel Hawks of “Allegiance to a Foreign Country”, according to Daily Intelligencer’s Jonathan Chait.
J. David Goodman at the New York Times wrote that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo spoke With Jeff Bezos, Furiously Trying to Win Back Amazon. Clifford Levy called it “a personal pitch to Bezos as part of a behind-the-scenes effort to lure Amazon back to New York.”
Deals, business, money, and things
Read Eric Morath and Lauren Weber’s piece in the Wall Street Journal for a look Inside the Hottest Job Market in Half a Century. Seriously, “The job market doesn’t get much better than this,” Joe Plenzler said. While Morath added, “All sorts of people who have previously had trouble landing a job are now finding work and getting paid more.”
A $35,000 Tesla Model 3 is Available Now, according to the company’s announcement on their own website. Speaking of websites, Tim Higgins pointed out that “Tesla [also announced’ it's going to online-only sales model.” But Lydia Moynihan remained unimpressed: “This was the big announcement?!”
The University of California formally announced it has terminated its subscriptions with Elsevier, the world’s largest scientific publisher, in a push for open access to publicly funded research.
“Jason Witten has decided he isn’t done playing just yet,” according to a press release from the Dallas Cowboys announcing: Witten Ends Retirement; Returning to Cowboys. It “will be his 16th season.”
More Friday news
TMZ alerted that actor Luke Perry suffered a stroke and was hospitalized. You know Perry from “90210” and “Riverdale.” We wish him a speedy recovery.
The New York Times reported that André Previn, Whose Music Knew No Boundaries, Died at 89. “He conducted, composed, played jazz piano and scored movies in a musical life that spurned categories,” James Barron’s obituary told us.
We’ll end this week with a piece from Jennings Brown at Gizmodo that needs no introduction: The Fake Sex Doctor Who Conned the Media Into Publicizing His Bizarre Research on Suicide, Butt-Fisting, and Bestiality.