Oh look, it's insane Trump revelation of the day o'clock

By the time this lands in your inbox, another week’s worth of news is likely to have broken, so bear with us. And here we go: “Special counsel appointed - check!” tweets Burt Herman, of yesterday’s announcement that Robert Mueller, Former F.B.I. Director, Named Special Counsel for Russia Investigation (41,000+ shares), reported by Rebecca R. Ruiz in The New York Times. As Steve Cochran puts it, “FBI legend will decide if POTUS is a misunderstood victim or a lying, justice obstructing, Putin-loving weasel.”

And then, “Oh look, it's Insane Trump Revelation Of The Day O'clock,” says Connor Sheets, referring to the report from Adam Entous at the Washington Post, House majority leader to colleagues in 2016: ‘I think Putin pays’ Trump (25,000+ shares). As Jane Timm says, “What. World. Is. This.” Ray Locker recaps it, “Ryan flack: That never happened. It's on tape. Oh, in that case, it was a bad joke.” And Noam Scheiber clarifies for us, “Okay, in case there were any doubt, it is now officially pouring.”

And then, “It keeps coming. Trump knew Flynn was under FBI investigation for working for Turkey well before inauguration,” tweets Nate Cohn, of the report by Matthew Rosenberg and Mark Mazzetti of The New York Times, Before He Came to White House, Trump Team Knew Flynn Was Under Investigation (25,000+ shares). And “If you just read these two stories together, it's totally jawdropping,” says Ben Jacobs. The second story he’s referring to is the scoop by Vera Maria Bergengruen of McClatchy Newspapers, Flynn stopped military plan Turkey opposed – after being paid as its agent. She tweets, “Before he was fired, Flynn halted Raqqa plan fiercely opposed by Turkey - who paid him $530,000 as foreign agent.” Dan Kennedy gives us quick reminder on Flynn: “Literally the man who led cheers of ‘Lock her up!’”

Also? “Tax experts said Trump's ‘with a few exceptions’ letter proved nothing, and here's an example now of why,” says David A. Graham. Rob Barry, Christopher Stewart and Brett Forrest of The Wall Street Journal report that Russian State-Run Bank Financed Deal Involving Trump Hotel Partner (11,000+ shares). “Not so much a drip drip drip as it is a monsoon,” tweets Alana Horowitz Satlin.

Early morning bombshell

But we’re not done yet. Says Ben de Pear, “This is another massive development if true.” This morning Ned Parker, Jonathan S. Landay and Warren Strobel of Reuters bring us the “early morning bombshell,” as Liam Stack puts it, Exclusive: Trump campaign had at least 18 undisclosed contacts with Russians - sources, in which they write, “Conversations between Flynn and Kislyak accelerated after the Nov. 8 vote as the two discussed establishing a back channel for communication between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin that could bypass the U.S. national security bureaucracy, which both sides considered hostile to improved relations, four current U.S. officials said.”

Now seems like a good time to take a moment and read Stack’s piece in The New York Times, Trying Not to Drown in a Flood of News About President Trump, which begins “What a year the last few days have been, huh?”

The President vs The Presidency

“Forget Reince vs Bannon vs Jared. It's the President vs The Presidency,” says Zeke Miller of the revelations in the TIME cover by Michael Scherer and Alex Altman, which explores how Trump’s loyalty test is straining Washington. And in Abby Phillip’s new piece for the Washington Post, The worst job in Washington right now: Working for Trump, we learn, as Laura Helmuth tweets, “Trump staffers are the prohibitive favorites in any future ‘Oh yeah? Well MY boss is so bad…’ drinking contests.” So they’ve got that going for them?

BREAKING: Melissa McCarthy faces career setback

Philip Bump links to the new piece from Josh Dawsey and Annie Karni at POLITICO, Trump weighs downsizing Spicer’s public role. Tweets Dawsey, “The daily Spicer show is coming to an end, sources tell @anniekarni and me.” And here’s a tip from Eliot Nelson: "Look to URLs to better understand the dynamic between reporters and editors.”

The rise & fall of the internet essay

“This is interesting & smart,” says Rebecca Tucker. In The New Yorker, Jia Tolentino says The Personal-Essay Boom Is Over, tweeting, “The news is so baseline apocalyptic that it took me a year to realize those personal essays you hated are dead!” As she writes, “Put simply, the personal is no longer political in quite the same way that it was.” Says Nicole Chung, “This is the best, most nuanced piece I've seen yet on the rise & fall of the internet essay.”

Shelter in the storm

OK, let's end it on a positive note. In her new piece for HuffPostThis Refugee Is Building Homes Out Of Plastic BottlesSarah Ruiz-Grossman writes about Tateh Lehbib Breica, a Sahrawi refugee living in a camp in Tindouf, Algeria, who is building homes for other refugees out of plastic bottles filled with sand, noting, “the houses not only help solve for challenging weather, but also tackle another major problem: plastic waste.” And, Breica says, “These homes also help create jobs in a place where there is hardly any.”

Thursday round-up:

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