Today’s Agenda: Chuck And Nancy Head To The White House
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President Trump is meeting with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Speaker of the House-designate Nancy Pelosi today. Here’s more on that story and others we’re following.

The Carnage Continues

This following is from an SEC filing released today by Verizon regarding it’s “Oath” media business. That’s the unit which owns the assets of Yahoo, AOL and Huffington Post …

Verizon’s Media business, branded Oath, has experienced increased competitive and market pressures throughout 2018 that have resulted in lower than expected revenues and earnings. These pressures are expected to continue and have resulted in a loss of market positioning to our competitors in the digital advertising business. Oath has also achieved lower than expected benefits from the integration of the Yahoo Inc. and AOL Inc. businesses. Effective August 1, 2018, Hans Vestberg became Chief Executive Officer of Verizon, and effective October 1, 2018, K. Guru Gowrappan was appointed Chief Executive Officer of the Media business.

Very, Very Curious (Evangelical Swimming Pool Edition)
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Something weird happened on Twitter yesterday. Someone who shall remain unnamed riffed some speculation about a more than six month old Buzzfeed article. As is the nature of Twitter and impulsive social media, the speculation caught fire as purported fact and it was as though some dramatic new revelation had unfolded even though there was no actual news at all. This is sort of in the nature of social media non-facts. But without getting into the fullness of that speculation, I wanted to focus your attention on some facts from articles from earlier this year that do warrant some more attention. It has to do with Michael Cohen, Jerry Falwell Jr, Falwell’s wife and a 21 year old pool boy the family decided to go into business with.

A Great Way To Support Our Work

As we get past the midterm election and into the thick of the accelerating Mueller probe, I wanted to remind you: If you’re a dieheard TPM Reader and interested in a new way to support and be a part of TPM beyond the cost of a Prime membership, please consider joining TPM Inside. You can find out the details here. If you sign up for an annual membership before December 21st you become a Launch Member and have your subscription extended through the end of January 2020. Click here for the details and here to sign up.


Maria Butina seems to have cut a plea deal. I’m sure folks at the NRA are terribly pleased.

Fast Times in User Land

Mike Pence’s Chief of Staff surprised everyone this weekend – none more than Donald Trump it seems – when he turned down Trump’s offer to succeed John Kelly as Trump’s third Chief of Staff. An overeager Trump couldn’t wait to announce Kelly’s departure this weekend and now he’s running through an increasingly desperate and comical list of potential chiefs of staff after Ayers turned him down. What happened here?

Today’s Agenda: No One Wants The Chief Of Staff Job
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Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff Nick Ayers seems to have surprised the President. Here’s more on that story and others we’re following.

Where Do They Find These Guys?

Josh Kovensky has the fascinating backstory on a third, lesser-known figure in the alleged Roger Stone-Jerome Corsi Wikileaks’ outreach effort during the summer and fall of 2016.

A Bit More on Cohen
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I mentioned on Friday evening that it’s not like Cohen just screwed himself by holding out on the SDNY prosecutors and then, only belatedly, deciding to cooperate fulsomely with The Special Counsel’s Office in September. As I said then, the decision seems quite intentional and probably made with at least some understanding of the consequences. That’s clear if you figure in Cohen’s personal and professional background: specifically, years of business dealings with people with Russian/Ukrainian mafia connections as well as marrying into that world.

Site Status

We’re aware that some readers are getting pop-up page-takeover ‘ads’ on the site in the last two days on mobile devices. We are aware of it and tracking it down is our absolute top priority. Tracking down the culprit can be time consuming since ad network advertising includes multiple intermediaries and third parties operating on the same networks. But again, we know and we’re doing everything in our power to track it down.

Impeachment Talk
Trump Claims ‘Tremendous Amounts Of Wall Have Already Been Built’

President Donald Trump claimed, falsely and many times Tuesday, that his beloved border wall has largely already been built.

He’s repeated this claim so many times that the Washington Post introduced a new rating called a “bottomless Pinocchio.”

Watch here:

Trump Claims More Than 10 People Are Vying For Chief Of Staff Job

Trump: ICE Is Great But A ‘Great Wall’ Is Better






Obama Mocks His Past Play On Viral Videos In New Push For Health Care Enrollment

Former President Barack Obama mocked himself and his staff’s past efforts to play on viral videos and memes — like appearing on Zach Galifianakis’s “Between Two Ferns” — to encourage young people to sign up for Obamacare in a new video that highlights the Dec. 15 sign up deadline.

As He Mulls Presidential Bid, Beto O’Rourke Speaks With Rev. Al Sharpton

Unsuccessful Texas Senate candidate and outgoing Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) spoke on the phone with Rev. Al Sharpton Friday as O’Rourke mulls a bid for the presidency in 2020, BuzzFeed News reported Monday. O’Rourke recently also met with former President Barack Obama.

A spokesperson for Sharpton told BuzzFeed News: “They spoke and agreed to meet within the next couple of weeks and they had a great conversation.”

Trump Calls Hush Payment A ‘Simple Private Transaction,’ Not Campaign Contribution

As FBI Director, Comey Asked For Probe Of Possible Leaks To People ‘Like Rudy Giuliani’

Former FBI Director James Comey testified to the House Oversight and Judiciary committees Friday that he was concerned in late 2016 “that there appeared to be in the media a number of stories that might have been based on communications reporters or nonreporters like Rudy Giuliani were having with people in the [FBI’s] New York field office.”

The Wall Street Journal first noted the exchange in a report Saturday night. Read Comey’s testimony about Giuliani below: 

Rubio: ‘It Would Be A Terrible Mistake’ For Trump To Pardon Manafort

Comey Speaks, Trump Tweets: President Responds To Comey Testimony

The House Judiciary and Oversight committees on Saturday released a transcript of former FBI Director James Comey’s testimony before the committee the previous day. The President responded Sunday morning:

Comey Will Testify Again In Mid-December

Former FBI Director James Comey will be called to testify before the House Judiciary and House Oversight Committees again in mid-December, GOP committee chairman said in a statement on Saturday.

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