This sure looks a lot like a smoking gun.

We're not going to lie to you. There’s going to be some Russia/Trump/White House/what-did-they-know-and-when-did-they-know-it coverage in today’s Daily. So let’s get on with it.

"Tough week for the Trump camp," tweets Jessica Roy of the Los Angeles Times, and that’s putting it mildly. Putting it another way, “Oh. My. Word. This sure looks a lot like a smoking gun,” tweets MSNBC’s Christopher Hayes of the report by Michael Schmidt, Mark Mazzetti and Matt Apuzzoof in The New York Times that Trump Campaign Aides Had Repeated Contacts With Russian Intelligence. With the news that the FBI intercepted calls showing that staffers, including Paul Manafort, repeatedly communicated with Russian operatives before the 2016 election, David Harris of the Boston Business Journal thinks “the Trump train is being derailed pretty quickly.” Michael Specter of The New Yorker wonders, “How much of a banana republic can the US become?” But as Jennifer Epstein of Bloomberg News points out, “So far, U.S. offls have not found evidence Trump team was colluding w Russians on hacks, efforts to influence elex.” Still, says David Sims of The Atlantic, “this appears to be snowballing.”

Getting lots of retweet action: this tweet from NBC News’ Bradd Jaffy, “NYT reporter who broke Trump campaign/Russia story is same reporter who broke Clinton email server story. That's called a free & fair press,” and this from CNN’s Jake Tapper: "These are news stories. Conspiracy theories are false & more like ‘Ted Cruz's dad was with Lee Harvey Oswald’ or ‘vaccines cause autism.’”

However.

CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski points to the “good rundown from @callumborchers on caveats in both bombshell stories last night.” He’s referring to Callum Borchers’ analysis in the Washington Post this morning, Two explosive reports on Trump and Russia. Zero on-the-record sources.

Everything feels insane right now but this is *particularly* insane.

Meanwhile in Russia. “Amid many commas, big news: Russian Cruise Missile, Deployed Secretly, Violates Treaty, Officials Say,” tweets Jason Noble of the Des Moines Register. “And it's not even lunch yet....” as Andrew Das of The New York Times reminds us. Notes Ryan McCarthy of Vice, “Seems like the kind of time you want to have a permanent national security adviser in place.”

Oh, and have you heard about The Strange Case Of The Russian Diplomat Who Got His Head Smashed In On Election Day? Ali Watkins of BuzzFeed reveals that “Hours before Trump was elected, Nov. 8 started with a dead man on the floor of the Russian Consulate.” Watkins’ colleague Shani Hilton advises that you “Read this crazy story by @AliWatkins immediately if not sooner.” Observes Kelsey McKinney, “everything feels insane right now but this is *particularly* insane.”

Here’s a rumor we can all get behind.

“In the ‘Fake News!’ era, Rumor the German Shepherd wins Westminster!” tweets James Turner of the Winnipeg Free Press. But who really won our hearts? Paws down, that would have to be Mia, the distracted beagle. “Beagles are the best,” Sam Stein of the Huffington Post notes, which would be true even if the person compiling this newsletter didn’t have two beagles of her own.

BREXIT 2: The U.K. voted and now the Oscar race is in chaos. 

That's the headline Walt Hickey originally suggested for his FiveThirtyEight piece on how the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) awards could shake up the acting odds at the 2017 Academy Awards. Hickey explains why the BAFTA awards made a few races more interesting.

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