Terror hits Iran
Breaking news this morning as “ISIS claims responsibility for two terror attacks today in Iran, including one on Parliament there,” tweets Nicholas Kristof, linking to reporting by Sewell Chan in The New York Times, Parliament and Khomeini Mausoleum in Iran Are Attacked. The New York Times tweets, “At least 12 people were killed and 42 others wounded in the assaults on 2 of Iran’s most potent symbols.” Rukmini Callimachi notes, “1. It's only the 2nd week of Ramadan & we already have a fourth major attack by ISIS, the 1st to hit Iran.” Thomas Erdbrink tweets, “ISIS Claims Dual Attacks in Iran, Some Blame Saudi Arabia,” and adds, “For many in Iran Saudi and ISIS are one and the same.” Says Josh Greenman, “At times it is possible, even necessary, to stand against terrorism and stand with Iran. The world is complicated.”
Good mornin', America, how are ya?
Well, it’s scoop time again. Let’s start with this one: At the Washington Post, Adam Entous breaks the news that Top intelligence official told associates Trump asked him if he could intervene with Comey on FBI Russia probe (23,000+ shares). As Entous tweets, “Trump pulled Director of National Intelligence Coats aside with a delicate question: Could he intervene with Comey?” Jason Reid says, “The detail in this thing is incredible. And stunning. I mean, wow.” But “Was just locker room talk & republicans are troubled and what not,” says Andrew Ragsly. Steve Watts’ take: “Either a half-dozen intel officials are telling a grand, internally consistent lie, or Trump obstructed justice.” Tweets John Chase, “Words you don't want in any stry abt u: ‘As the briefing was wrapping up, Trump asked everyone to leave the room …’”
And you know who doesn’t want to be left alone in that room with Trump? That’s right, former F.B.I. Director James Comey. As The New York Times’ Michael Schmidt and Matt Apuzzo revealed in their scoop last night, Comey Told Sessions: Don’t Leave Me Alone With Trump (18,700+ shares) the day after a private meeting with Trump in which Comey alleges the president urged him to shut down the Flynn investigation. “What. A. Headline.” says Elena Schneider. And Yasmeen Abutaleb tweets, “I'm sure Comey is not alone in that sentiment.” Now Vox’s Murray Waas reports that 3 senior FBI officials can vouch for Comey’s story about Trump. Says Daniel Drezner, “Boom goes the corroborating dynamite.”
But back to the attorney general. We have another scoop, this time from ABC’s Jonathan Karl, who reports Attorney General Jeff Sessions suggested he could resign amid rising tension with President Trump (32,000+ shares). Says Jonathan M. Katz, “One thing that'd be good to know is if he threatened before or after he violated his recusal to help fire Comey?” And Jamil Smith tweets, “If Jeff Sessions resigns over this petty nonsense, cool. It would be his greatest public service.” Gabriel Snyder’s advice, “Never go into business with Donald Trump.”
Grifters R Us
Now that you mention it, “Good mornin', America, how are ya?” asks Bob Hille. Dan Alexander at Forbes brings us this bombshell: How Donald Trump Shifted Kids-Cancer Charity Money Into His Business (40,000 shares). Or as Dominic Rushe puts it, “FFS via @forbes.” Says Clare O'Connor, “The apples never fall far. Great reporting by @DanAlexander21.” Alexander tweets to Washington Post reporter David Farenthold, “Hey @Fahrenthold, the Eric Trump Foundation used charity money to buy a wine still. Want to help me find it?” “President Montgomery Burns,” says Michael Grunwald. “Charity, Trump-style. Grifters R Us,” tweets Simon Montlake. As Mark Gongloff says, “Each day we find new depths.”
Also, “This may be a very big deal,” as Doug Levy puts it. Evan Perez and Shimon Prokupecz of CNN break the news that US Suspects Russian Hackers Planted Fake News Behind Qatar Crisis (13,000+ shares). Says Laura Litvan, “This puts Trump's tweets today suggesting Qatar is state sponsor of terrorism in an entirely different category.” And Farhad Manjoo says, “This story is amazing. State hackers creating news stories to influence policy is next level crazy.” “You all realize Russia is winning, right?” says Luc Hatlestad. But David Lepeska advises, “Let's not give Putin so much credit,” and Max Seddon says, “Seems far-fetched Russia would sneakily attack Qatar while simultaneously courting them for billions in investment.”
The war room is dead
Meanwhile, Trump, furious and frustrated, will join allies in attacking Comey testimony, report Robert Costa, Ashley Parker and Philip Rucker for the Washington Post. As Costa tweets, “The war room is dead. The RNC has Pam Bondi and the Arkansas AG ready as surrogates. And Trump grips his phone.” He adds, “Trump has been watching TV more than usual, swatting away suggestions to cool it, and tweeting whatever he wants.” Also in the story, “News within the news: Geoff Morrell and Scott Reed were approached about White House jobs,” as Steven Ginsberg tweets.
And in an exclusive for Yahoo, Michael Isikoff reports, Four top law firms turned down requests to represent Trump (63,000+ shares). The choice quote from his piece: “‘The concerns were, “The guy won’t pay and he won’t listen,”’ said one lawyer close to the White House who is familiar with some of the discussions.”
However, we do have an F.B.I. director pick. This morning it was announced that Trump Has Picked Christopher Wray to Be F.B.I. Director, as Glenn Thrush reports in The New York Times. A former federal prosecutor, Wray was an assistant attorney general under George W. Bush and represented Chris Christie in the Bridgegate scandal. Tweets Thrush, “In picking Wray over Pistole, Trump opted for a guy who has managed scandal (B'gate) and a bombastic boss (Christie).”
Appalling and really worth reading
Albert Samaha, Mike Hayes and Talal Ansari of BuzzFeed News reviewed more than 50 reports of school bullying since the election for their piece, The Kids are Alt-Right (18,000+ shares), and found that kids nationwide are using Trump’s words to taunt their classmates—and teachers don’t know what to do about it. Mat Honan calls it an “Eye-opening story on what's happening at schools in the Trump era.” While Megan Hess says, “Reading this story, on school bullies quoting Trump, felt like a punch to the gut,” Tom Power says it's “Appalling and really worth reading.”
Eat the rich
“So much I want to quote. Sad Wall Street speed dating. Mike Tyson, pink pants. Clueless billionaires. Just read it,” says Lauren Tara LaCapra. She’s referring to Hamilton Nolan’s piece for Deadspin, Hell Is Empty And All the Hedge Fund Managers Are At The Bellagio. Jess Zimmerman says, “I think Hamilton Nolan may be the Hunter Thompson of our day: probably awful to hang out with but hot DAMN sometimes,” and Dan Diamond tweets, “No idea why these hedge funders let @hamiltonnolan attend, but glad they did—this piece is engrossing.” As Jia Tolentino notes, “No one eats the rich like @hamiltonnolan.”
Oh come on, man
That’s Ross Douthat's response to A Word About My Wonder Woman Review, David Edelstein’s defense of his “Wonder Woman” review in Vulture, or as Vivian Kane tweets, “In which David Edelstein asks himself to hold his own beer.” Notes Alex Abad-Santos, “The man who coined the phrase ‘delectable baby fat’ is upset that you didn't like his Wonder Woman review.” Ani Bundle’s take: “Man who complained that Wonder Woman didn't turn him on enough mansplains own review.” Says Arielle Duhaime-Ross, “didn't think it was possible but this apology makes things worse?” “I swear, I'm going to roll my eyes so hard one of these days that they're going to fall out,” tweets Amanda Farough. We’ll give Carina MacKenzie the last word: “If you read only one mortifying defense of a review of Wonder Woman by a sniveling white dude, make it this one!”
More Wednesday reads:
Susan Page at USA Today interviews Sen. Mark Warner, who says More state election systems were targeted by Russians and that the election attacks were “much broader” than what’s shown in the leaked NSA document.
Axios’s Jonathan Swan has the scoop that Trump pitched Republican leaders on a solar-paneled border wall.
CNN’s Eric Levenson has the latest from the Bill Cosby trial in Cosby back in court for Day Two of indecent assault trial. Tweets Levenson, “Bill Cosby lowered his head, put his hand over his face and shook his head today in a moment years in the making.”
In a New York Times interactive piece, Neil MacFarquhar and Andrew Rossback explore How Russian Propaganda Spread From a Parody Website to Fox News.
Bloomberg’s Eric Newcomer reports on the latest drama at the ride-share company as Uber Fires More Than 20 Employees in Harassment Probe.