The first post-Thanksgiving poll is out and Roy Moore (49%) is up over Doug Jones (44%) by 5 points. That’s an eight point move in Moore’s favor since the same pollster surveyed two weeks ago. At least on the basis of this pollster’s last three polls, it suggests Moore has recovered to his pre-scandal support levels.

The pollster in question is not a terribly well-known pollster. But we do have three polls that cover the period before and after the scandal. So the general trend is clear and revealing.

DeKalb county campaign coordinator for Roy Moore attacks a credentialed reporter at a campaign event he himself organized.

According to the in-state reporter who apparently shot the video the man accosting the cameraman is Tony Goolsby, DeKalb County coordinator for the Moore campaign, the organizer of the rally.

As we watch the drama over the who gets to run the CFPB, let me note an issue of language.

Virtually every mention of the agency I’ve heard today refers to it as a “consumer watchdog agency”. That’s a reasonable definition. But it’s not a clear one, certainly not one that is clear in any political context. Let me suggest that “consumer” is not the important part of the name. Any Democrat should be saying the CFPB an agency to protect consumers from Wall Street banks. That is what it is. It’s meant to be a watchdog to monitor financial services institutions to protect consumers and insure that those financial services companies follow the law. ‘Consumer watchdog’ sounds soft and fuddyduddy-like. It just does.

Bruce Bartlett has spent many years in government, including service on the staffs of Representatives Ron Paul and Jack Kemp and Senator Roger Jepsen. He has been executive director of the Joint Economic Committee of Congress, senior policy analyst in the Reagan White House, and deputy assistant secretary for economic policy at the Treasury Department during the George H.W. Bush administration. A New York Times best-selling author, he’s published more than 2,100 articles in major national publications.

Bruce will be in the Hive to chat about his new book, “The Truth Matters: A Citizen’s Guide to Separating Facts from Lies and Stopping Fake News in Its Tracks,” which focuses on the concept of “fake news” and offers solutions to combat it. Post your questions and join us on Thursday! If you’d like to participate but don’t have TPM Prime, sign up here.

Over the long weekend, I took a flyer on a lot of my normal writing, spent time with my family and collected notes on something I’m writing about U.S. Grant and the nature of writing. I saved up a number of articles I wanted to pore over and mine for new information about the Russia probe when the weekend was over. Here are the articles on my reading list today in Josh’s Reading List #7 (sub req).

We now have a basic matter of statutory interpretation determining who is in fact acting director of the CFPB. My sense was that Leandra English had the stronger legal argument here, even if the President has greater powers to get his way in a case like this and likely enjoys more deference from the courts. But the fact the CFPB’s own top lawyer is siding with the President suggests that at a minimum it’s not clear cut in English’s favor. Again, this is a relatively straightforward conflict between two statutes. There are established frameworks judges use to decide which is the controlling law. So, for lawyer readers with experience in this kind of legal analysis, what’s your take? What are the questions we should be asking to help us understand how a judge might rule? Drop me a line at our comments email address linked under the TPM logo at the upper right.

We have four editorial positions we’re currently hiring for. But today we’re announcing one that is uniquely important to me and the future of the organization, our first Prime Editor. This isn’t just an editor to help oversee our subscription content. It’s an editor to help oversee and shape a new way of covering the news that we’ll be doing exclusively within Prime. Please see the full listing after the jump. If you’re up for an exciting challenge and want to work in an expanding, vital newsroom, I encourage you to apply.

(Our other three open positions are: Senior Editor, Assistant Editor and a third reporter to join our Investigations Desk team.)
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We’re seeing a lot of coverage today of reports that US intelligence officials warned their Israeli counterparts to be careful sharing information with Donald Trump because he might be compromised by the Russians. This is not new information. Indeed, it is an example of just how much and how early we’ve known about the crisis in the White House, with still relatively little attention being given to the fact of it.
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Here is what I am thankful for. It’s not the only thing I’m thankful for. It’s not what I’m most thankful for. But it is something I’m very thankful for and it is the thing I’m thankful for that relates directly to this site. So this seems like the place to give thanks.
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With the holidays upon us and with a long Thanksgiving weekend for the lucky among us, I thought I’d recommend some books for your reading pleasure. In the distant past I did a lot of book reviews on TPM. But in recent years I get hung up because I often don’t have the time to do a proper review or I didn’t read the book with the thought of doing a review in mind. In other cases, I loved a book but I read it two years ago so I’m rusty on all the particulars. So I’m just going to recommend these eight books, with just some brief notes about why I found them interesting rather than a comprehensive review. But each of these books is one that I found engrossing and learned a great deal from. A number of them had a transformative effect on how I think about and understand a given topic.
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The Pentagon has announced that on November 12th the Army recovered additional remains of Army Sgt. La David Johnson, a month after his body was found. Remember that Johnson’s widow was not permitted to view his body and she even publicly speculated about what was really in her husband’s coffin. It now seems they didn’t tell her that what was in the casket was not her husband’s entire body.

Obviously, terribly things happened to bodies in war, mutilation, dismemberment, decapitation. That is war. The issue here is that it seems the Pentagon kept this information from Johnson’s wife and family.

We now know that in 2015 Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) settled a sexual harassment claim with a former staffer. The story originated when the notorious alt-right figure Mike Cernovich provided settlement documents to Buzzfeed. Buzzfeed, rightly, independently confirmed the story. The story was thus based on the documents but no longer relied on the documents or their authenticity. Conyers’ office has now confirmed the key details of the story. Conyers denies the underlying accusations and notes that he admitted no wrongdoing in the settlement. But that’s really beside the point since that’s in the nature of confidential settlements.
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Yesterday the CEO of AT&T came out in response to the just-announced DOJ lawsuit and said in CEO-speak that they are going to court and ready to use full discovery powers to determine whether President Trump’s animus toward CNN is what is driving this dispute. That makes me really wonder if the Trump White House knows what it’s getting into. Are they really ready for the exposure of discovery and do they realize it could and likely will go directly to the President.

But I wanted to flag a note from an anonymous TPM Reader, TPM Reader AN. He’s an antitrust lawyer. And while I think he agrees that the government’s argument in this case represents a dramatic reversal of recent decades of antitrust enforcement (especially for a GOP administration) he notes some technical factors that may put the government in a better position to win this case than people realize.
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CNN is reporting that DOJ has decided to sue to block AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner, which owns both CNN and HBO. You may have read what I’ve written about this before. I generally oppose all mega-mergers like this for a host of reasons. But I have very little doubt that what is driving this is President Trump and his feud with CNN. There’s abundant evidence to that effect, which makes this highly dangerous.

Buzzfeed reported this morning that multiple sources claim that National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster called President Trump an “idiot” and a “dope” in a private dinner with Oracle CEO Safra Catz. McMaster also criticized Steve Bannon, Rex Tillerson and said presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner has no business being involved in national security issues at all. According to Buzzfeed, Catz told one source “[the conversation was so inappropriate that it was jaw-dropping.”
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As the Russia story again heats up, let’s remember the ties between Russia and the US evangelical right as a critical backdrop and predicate for the entire story. Here’s my backgrounder on the topic (sub req.)

The NRCC, the campaign committee charged with electing Republicans to the House of Representatives is holding a lottery to send a “lucky conservative (and a friend)” for an all expense paid weekend at the Trump Hotel in Washington, DC. You just have to contribute a minimum of ten dollars.

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When I first saw this, I was stunned. A big piece of the Russia puzzle. In a little watched campaign video from Sam Clovis’s failed 2014 Senate run, Clovis stated staunchly pro-Russian views about the Ukraine crisis. This was on March 17th, 2014, a day before the annexation of the Crimean Peninsula and more than a year before Donald Trump even announced his candidacy. At one point in the video Clovis says that “Russia, [by] placing forces on the ground in Ukraine, will help assist them in moving back into the Russian empire.” Read our report here.

Yesterday I appeared on a panel about digital publishers who are ‘pivoting to video’. I’ve written about this before. But in case you’re new to it, there have been numerous cases over the last six months to a year in which digital publishers have announced either major job cuts or in some cases literally fired their entire editorial teams in order to ‘pivot to video.’ The phrase has almost become a punchline since, as I’ve argued, there is basically no publisher in existence involved in any sort of news or political news coverage who says to themselves, my readers are demanding more of their news on video as opposed to text. Not a single one. The move to video is driven entirely by advertiser demand.
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You’ve probably seen the new Fox poll which has Doug Jones with an eight point lead over Roy Moore in Alabama. I’m skeptical. This isn’t a criticism of the particular poll. I’m just skeptical whether Roy Moore has suffered that much of a decline. This doesn’t mean Democrats shouldn’t put everything they have into winning this race. They should. They should be all in. But I think we are fooling ourselves if we think that Jones has now opened up a substantial lead over Moore. Winnable? Yes. But I don’t think Jones has anything like an eight point lead.

Keep an eye on this …

A gold trader who is close to Turkish President Recep Erdogan is now cooperating with federal prosecutors in a money-laundering case, according to two sources with knowledge of the matter, and legal experts say prosecutors may be seeking information about any ties between the Turkish government and former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn.

More here.

President Trump’s Obamacare sabotage campaign triggers even more renewal/enrollment confusion. Here’s the story.