Fire. Fire fire fire fire

“Well, this escalated quickly,” says Gerry Doyle, linking to Russian Government Sought to Aid Trump’s Candidacy, According to Email (253,000+ shares), the bombshell dropped last night by Matt Apuzzo, Jo Becker, Adam Goldman and Maggie Haberman of The New York Times. Yes, email. “Fire. Fire fire fire fire. No smoke. Fire,” says Max Linsky. Taylor Hatmaker tweets, “i live for the 6PM scoop hour tbh.” Looking ahead, “Tomorrow we're going to find out the email came from,” says Dave Itzkoff. Pro tip from Gregg Carlstrom, “Don't ever put your foreign conspiracies in writing, kids.”

And if you do...BuzzFeed’s Zoe Tillman is reporting that Donald Trump Jr. Has Hired A Lawyer Who Has Handled Organized Crime And Cybercrime Cases. Dan Murphy details it: “Don Junior's new lawyer has represented bigwigs from 4/5 of New York's 5 mafia families (Luccheses odd family out).”

Meanwhile, “Russian lawyer who met with Trump Jr. tells @KeirSimmons: ‘I did not have Clinton info they wanted,’” tweets NBC News, adding, “Natalia Veselnitskaya says it's possible Trump Jr. was ‘longing’ for info on the DNC. ‘They wanted it so badly.’” The network links to Keir Simmons’ interview with Natalia Veselnitskaya.

And then...“The @DonaldJTrumpJr released emails as we were about to publish,” tweets Adam Goldman, linking to his latest in The New York Times with Jo Becker and Matt ApuzzoRussian Dirt on Clinton? ‘I Love It’ Donald Trump Jr. Said, which highlights the email exchanges reviewed by the Times. Goldman points out, of the email release from Donald Trump Jr., “Remember why @DonaldJTrumpJr published the emails: Because the @nytimes did not stop working to inform the public.” Many are tweeting this particular quote from the emails: “This is sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”

So, who is the man who set up Trump Jr’s meeting with a Russian lawyer? The Guardian’s Jon Swaine and David Smith take a look at Rob Goldstone, the British music publicist and former tabloid journalist, or “The greasy middleman,” as Noga Tarnopolsky puts it. Tweets John Sweeney, “In any scandal, it's always a good idea to check out the dodgy British tabloid hack. #TrumpRussia is no exception.” For good measure, Trump Jr. Acquaintance Rob Goldstone Used Facebook to Place Himself at Scene of Trump Tower Meeting With Russian Lawyer, as Newsweek’s Graham Lanktree and many social media sleuths have noted.

Life comes at you fast. AP News is posting regular updates to this story here.

Is this normal?

“ALSO new: Bannon/Kushner asked Erik Prince of Blackwater fame and billionaire Steve Feinberg for Afghanistan ideas,” tweets Amy Fiscus, referring to Trump Aides Recruited Businessmen to Devise Options for Afghanistan, by The New York Times’ Mark Landler, Eric Schmitt and Michael Gordon. “Serious question, is this normal?” asks Joe Williams. Observes Spencer Woodman, “Imagine how big a deal this would be, regularly.”

The swamps of Trumplandia

“In this case I believe it's accurate to say: @MarkLeibovich on Trumplandia is everything,” tweets Jake Silverstein. And Jason Ukman says, “This is everything a story should be.” They’re referring to This Town Melts Down, Mark Leibovich’s feature for The New York Times Magazine, which takes stock of how Washington has and hasn’t changed in the time of Trump. Among other things, we learn, as Noah Weiland tweets, “Trump is using DVR'ed episodes of Fox & Friends as mid-day balm.” Writes Leibovich, “The swamp feels anything but drained; more like remodeled into a gold-plated hot tub.”

In fact, “The swamp expands,” tweets Stephen Lacey. As part of a joint investigation, ProPublica’s Robert Faturechi and The New York Times’ Danielle Ivory are reporting Trump Has Secretive Teams to Roll Back Regulations, Led by Hires With Deep Industry Ties. They note, “We’ve found many appointees with potential conflicts of interest, including two who might personally profit if particular regulations are undone.”

Totes stable

Daniel Drezner says, “So @Cernovich sounds totes stable and reliable.” According to the new report from Kate Brannen, Dan De Luce and Jenna McLaughlin of Foreign Policy, Trump’s Trolls Are Waging War on America’s Civil Servants. They explain “How the White House uses an alt-right blogger who thinks semen has magical powers to attack American civil servants,” tweets Gregg Carlstrom.

And at Business Insider, Maxwell Tani reports, The far right is floating conspiracy theories about a CNN reporter who profiled a pro-Trump Reddit user. “Surprise, surprise: Trolls smearing @KFILE with obviously fake stories,” tweets David Weigel of the attacks on CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski.

Make gourmet sandwich shops great again

Also making the rounds today, an op-ed in The New York Times from David Brooks, How We Are Ruining America. While Nicholas Kristof tweets, “My colleague @nytdavidbrooks has a thoughtful column on how elites exacerbate inequality,” opinions vary. For example, “BREAKING: David Brooks took a friend to lunch but friend was intimidated by capicola so they got burritos,” Michael Maiello tweets. About that section of the piece, Max Read says, “this is an utterly insane graf from david brooks's latest column.” And Jake Grovum tweets, “Make gourmet sandwich shops great again.” Says Chris Seper, “Pissed this sharp @nytdavidbrooks piece on sealing off the poor is being crapped on b/c of a benign anecdote.” And Kris Vire asks, “Is there a German word for the moment David Brooks pivots from evidence-based arguments to batshit anecdote.”

Insane shift

Amanda Katz notes, “Majority of Republicans now think colleges and the news media both have a negative effect on the country.” This, according to a new national survey by the Pew Research Center, which finds Sharp Partisan Divisions in Views of National Institutions (24,000+ shares). Observes Ariel Edwards-Levy, “This is an insane shift to happen in two years.”

It’s complicated

Yesterday, we told you about The Uninhabitable Earth. Today, Robinson Meyer of The Atlantic asks, Are We as Doomed as That 'New York Magazine' Article Says. Tweets Ross Andersen, “It's no surprise that @yayitsrob has the smartest read on the NY Mag doomsday article.” And Sarah Niedoba notes, “This response to the NYMag piece by @yayitsrob is a more nuanced take, but still has an ominous conclusion.” Says Yoni Appelbaum, “Climate change is as important as it is complicated. Grateful for reporters like @yayitsrob who respect both aspects.”

Required reading

“Me, grousing about the state of criticism again (& the sad end of MTV News, & Chance the Rapper) for @newyorker,” tweets Amanda Petrusich of her New Yorker piece, MTV News, Chance the Rapper and a Defense of Negative Criticism. Says Bethlehem Shoals, “This @amandapetrusich is excellent.” And Sydney Gore calls it “required reading.”

In other news

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