New day, new drip of bad news

As usual there’s plenty of breaking news to catch up on. Jim Sciutto, Jamie Gangel, Shimon Prokupecz and Marshall Cohen have the scoop from CNN that Sources say Congress is investigating another possible Sessions-Kislyak meeting. As Gideon Resnick points out, “Nobody can remember poor Sergey.” Also at CNN, Eric Lichtblau reports, Comey to testify publicly about Trump confrontations (23,000+ shares). He writes that, according to sources, the fired FBI director plans to testify “in the Senate as early as next week to confirm bombshell accusations that President Donald Trump pressured him to end his investigation into a top Trump aide's ties to Russia.”

And then, “This story has everything,” says Josh Billinson. At The Guardian, Stephanie Kirchgaessner, Nick Hopkins and Luke Harding report that Nigel Farage is 'person of interest' in FBI investigation into Trump and Russia. “New day, new drip of bad news,” tweets Christina Wilkie. But Alan Travis says, “I guess Nigel Farage will be delighted to find that he is still a person of interest to anybody.”

And Byron Tau of The Wall Street Journal has the scoop that House Intelligence Committee Said to Have Issued Seven Subpoenas in Russia Probe. Tweets Benny Avni, “Wait, @AmbassadorPower is now targeted by congressIonal investigators? Nothing surprises anymore.”

A wink and several nods

Karen DeYoung’s new piece for the Washington Post reveals Trump administration moves to return Russian compounds in Maryland and New York (21,000+ shares). As Jamil Smith explains it, “Obama kicked the Russians out. Said these facilities were spy compounds. Trump may give them the keys back.”

Meanwhile, “Russians must be wondering who is more gullible, #Trump or the people who voted for him,” tweets Michael Balter. He links to Vladimir Putin Hints at Russian Role in Hacking of U.S. Election, by Andrew Higgins of The New York Times. The short version? “A wink and several nods from Putin on cyberattacks,” says Nick Confessore.

Swamp levels rising

Also at The New York Times, Eric Lipton and Steve Eder report, White House Details Ethics Waivers for at Least 16 Staff Members (11,800+ shares). Or as Lipton tweets, “The Bannon Waiver? White House ethics waiver allowing Bannon to contact Breitbart-without mentioning Bannon's name.” Says Ken Belson “Beatles: Fixing a hole. WH: Filling a hole.” And in the Washington Post, Matea Gold has the story, White House grants ethics waivers to 17 appointees, including four former lobbyists. Frida Ghitis notes, “In 4 months Trump White has issued waivers to the same No of people that Obama did in 96 months. Swamp levels rising.”

Jaw-dropping details

“Great story by @benoitfaucon @georgikantchev on how ISIS manages to sell looted art in the West,” tweets Valentina Pop, referring to The Wall Street Journal piece by Benoit Faucon and Georgi Kantchev, Prominent Art Family Entangled in Investigations of Looted Antiquities. As the WSJ tweets, “Looted in Syria, sold in New York? Our investigation into where antiquities trafficked by ISIS may be ending up.” Kelly Crow calls it “Jaw-dropping @wsj details tracing trail of ISIS art loot to NY,” and Mark Maremont notes, “A lot of digging went into this.”

Spy games

“Hell of a story by @AliWatkins. Again,” says Mike Wereschagin. Tweeting about her new piece for POLITICO, Russia escalates spy games after years of U.S. neglect, Ali Watkins says, “The Trump-Russia saga isn't the culmination of the Russian spy game -- it's only one part of it.” Tweets Natasha Bertrand, “Must-read via @AliWatkins: The Kremlin is waging a quiet effort to map the US' telecommunications infrastructure.” Blake Hounshell tweets, “Spy games: Last year, a Russian operative was found wandering around the desert,” and Matthew Kassel says it “Sounds like some weird dystopian glitch-world.”

Glorious geysers of whataboutism

Speaking of spies, The government is spying on journalists to find leakers, writes John Crudele for the New York Post. Jonah Goldberg says, “If true, this should create glorious geysers of whataboutism.” However, says Charlie Savage, “Premise seems incompatible with how FISA actually works.”

Athletes are people, too

ESPN reports that Police are looking into a racial slur sprayed on the front gate of LeBron James's home in Los Angeles (12,000+ shares). Speaking during NBA Finals media day on Wednesday, James said, “Hate in America, especially for African-Americans, is living every day. It is hidden most days. It is alive every single day.” Tweets Calvin Watkins,“You got to respect what LBJ said today. He could have avoided questions about it but didn't. Spoke the truth.” And Aarik Danielsen says, “Why it's impossible to ‘stick to sports.’ Athletes are people too."

No typos in this article

As reported yesterday by HuffPost’s Michael Calderone, The New York Times Is Eliminating The Position of Public Editor, an accountability role the paper created in 2003 in the wake of the Jayson Blair plagiarism scandal. “Can't say I'm surprised,” says Henry Fountain, but Michael Tracey tweets, “As @Sulliview showed, the Public Editor position can have unique value if done right. This weakens accountability.” Poynter’s Benjamin Mullin shares the full memo from publisher Arthur Sulzberger explaining that he's cutting the public editor job partly because followers on social media have essentially filled the role of watchdog.

Also, “Amazingly, no typos in this article,” Anthony Harrup notes. As Daniel Victor reports, New York Times to Offer Employee Buyouts, Aimed Primarily at Editors. Amanda Wills’ take: “Good: ‘aiming to reduce layers of editing’ Eh: ‘requiring more of editors who remain’ (that's when errors happen).” Brian Fung says, “Sure, freak out about the buried-lede buyouts, but isn't the end result — hiring more reporters — pretty laudable?”

Thursday round-up

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