First up, a correction. In yesterday’s Muck Rack Daily, we incorrectly identified the journalist who wrote Team Trump Bypassed DHS Analysts to Produce Bogus Terror Report. That piece was written by Spencer Ackerman for The Daily Beast.
On to today, where the U.S. government is back in business. After 3 Days of Recriminations, Congress Votes to Reopen the Government, as Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Thomas Kaplan report for The New York Times. Russell Berman’s take in The Atlantic, The Democrats Relent. In his “Daily 202” column for The Washington Post, James Hohmann has Seven takeaways from the failed Democratic government shutdown. He tweets, “The Resistance will struggle when it tries to replicate the tactics of the tea party movement. The left learned with its failed shutdown gambit that it cannot beat Trump by copying the same playbook that the right used against Clinton and Obama.”
Some truly frightening news: “If you're wondering why CNN-ers don't think ‘fake news’ comments are funny, here's a good reason why,” says Elizabeth I Johnson. As CNN’s Darran Simon reports, Michigan man arrested after caller threatens to kill CNN employees. Kyle Swenson covers the story for The Washington Post, Mich. man threatened CNN employees over ‘fake news,’ FBI says. Daniel Dale points to “Some more details: the man charged with threatening a massacre at CNN specifically mentioned Jews.” And Kira Lerner notes, “On Jan. 9, a man threatened a massacre at CNN, making disparaging comments about Jews. Yesterday, a candidate for U.S. Congress tweeted this,” referring to a post by self-described “pro-white” candidate Paul Nehlen, who’s challenging Paul Ryan in the Republican Primary for Wisconsin's 1st congressional district.
And now, some scoop from Jonathan Swan at Axios, FBI director threatened to resign amid Trump, Sessions pressure. You know, “Just that extremely normal thing where the FBI director threatens to resign to get the attorney general and the president’s lawyer to stop pressuring him to fire his deputy,” says Eric Geller. Zack Whittaker puts it this way: “Fucking *wow*”
More scoop, this time from Michael Schmidt of The New York Times: Sessions Was Interviewed Last Week in Mueller’s Russia Investigation.
Also, “My, isn’t she intentionally intriguing,” says Maximillian Potter. According to his fiancé, George Papadopoulos is the ‘John Dean’ of the Russia investigation. That’s the latest from The Washington Post’s Rosalind Helderman, and it’s “Maybe not the analogy the White House was hoping for,” as Philip Bump notes. Mark Follman “Sure would be curious to know what @JohnWDean thinks of this claim about Papadopoulos.”
In his latest piece for Vanity Fair, Gabriel Sherman poses this question: Are Trump and Kelly Heading for Divorce? Here’s another question: “If the chairman of the RNC couldn't do it, and a four-star marine general can't do it, who could do it?” asks Gillian Brockell. Trita Parsi’s take: “Day by day, trump increasingly looks like the average incompetent Middle Eastern dictator who clings to power and fends off competitors by ensuring that everything around them is in disarray.” Daniel Drezner says, “I’ll believe that Trump is growing into the presidency when his longtime friends stop talking about him like a toddler.”
Meanwhile, Melania Trump is no longer joining the President in Davos, reports CNN’s Kate Bennett. “Maybe she thinks the weather will b Stormy,” B.L. Ochman speculates.
Melania may not be thrilled about it, but “EVANGELICALS GIVE TRUMP A PASS ON @STORMYDANIELS (& all bad behavior, it seems).” Ken Vogel is tweetshouting about Edward-Isaac Dovere’s interview with Family Research Council President Tony Perkins for POLITICO’s Off Message podcast, the one where we learned that Trump Gets ‘a Mulligan’ on Life, Stormy Daniels. Lloyd Jacobson has the scripture for this: “Let he who is with sin, be our new $avior.” Eric Zorn calls it “Transactional Christianity at its most brazen.”
“I just screamed really, really loud and scared the shit out of my cat.” Dell Cameron (and now his cat) are alarmed by the news that Trump election fraud commission bought Texas election data flagging Hispanic voters, as Spencer Hsu and John Wagner report for The Washington Post. The cat isn’t the only other one who’s surprised. “Seriously, this is SO BANANAS even Kris Kobach can see a problem & is denying that he knew such a request was made #txlege,” tweets Erica Griedner.
Another big story yesterday, Trump Slaps Steep Tariffs on Imported Washing Machines and Solar Products. Ana Swanson has the details for The New York Times. A little history lesson, courtesy of John Markoff, “Eighty four years ago on this day President Hoover signed the Smoot-Hawley tariff bill, which raised U.S. tariffs. Other countries retaliated and world trade shrank; by the end of 1934 world trade had plummeted some 66 percent from the 1929 level.”
Bloomberg’s Brian Eckhouse, Ari Natter and Chris Martin write, Trump Taxes Solar Imports in Biggest Blow to Renewables Yet. Mike Bloomberg’s assessment: “Taxing solar panels up to 30% will destroy U.S. jobs, raise Americans’ electric bills and hurt our environment. Congress should stand up for American workers and consumers and overturn the administration’s harmful decision.” Marc Gunther’s take: “This is a big deal, and very bad for #climatechange.” Ellen R. Wald is more poetic about it: “The sun has no comment. But it will still shine tomorrow.”
Also getting plenty of attention is the news that Pennsylvania Congressional District Map Is Ruled Unconstitutional, which Michael Wines reports for The New York Times. Peter Applebome points out that “This ruling might actually stand. In which case, a big deal.” Adds Matt Yurus, “If the court's decision holds, it could cost the Republicans seats in Pennsylvania.” Seth Davis says, “This was actually the most important political event of the day. Most of our dysfunction can be traced to unconstitutional gerrymandering. Denies the will of the people.”
Probably goes without saying, but Parker Molloy tweets, “We live in strange times.” This time, it’s about the fact that Hawaii’s governor didn’t correct false missile alert sooner because he didn’t know his Twitter password, which Travis Andrews reports for The Washington Post. A good question, from Ed Thiede, is that “A good thing or a bad thing?” Either way, “lmao this is VEEP level,” says Hannah Schwarz.
Newley Purnell of The Wall Street Journal reports that The Internet Is Filling Up Because Indians Are Sending Millions of ‘Good Morning!’ Texts. Leandro Oliva explains: “One in three smartphone users in India run out of space on their phones daily. The culprit: millions of ‘Good Morning images.’” Don’t believe it? Gunjan Banerji reveals, “I had to leave a lot of family whatsapp chats because of this.”
The latest on the Alaska earthquake: A tsunami warning that had been in effect has been cancelled after a 7.9-magnitude earthquake off Alaska coast. Madison Park, Keith Allen and Holly Yan are covering the story for CNN. The earthquake occurred 280 km southeast of Kodiak.
This is “Interesting: Rupert Murdoch calls for Facebook to pay trusted publishers,” tweets Jason Abbruzzese, who links to the Statement of Rupert Murdoch, Executive Chairman of News Corp, on a Carriage Fee for Trusted Publishers. “He's right. Just pay them,” says Jeff Nesbit, but Selena Larson wonders, “Why would Facebook pay publishers when it can get content and eyeballs for free.”
Brooks Barnes of The New York Times has the 2018 Oscar Nominations. For more analysis, read Kristopher Tapley’s write-up in Variety, Oscars: Academy Shakes Up the Race as ‘Shape of Water’ Takes Frontrunner Status.
Naomi Parker Fraley, the Real Rosie the Riveter, Dies at 96. Margalit Fox has the obit for The New York Times. As John Schwartz puts it,”This compulsively readable @margalitfox obit of Naomi Parker Fraley answers a question that was long answered wrongly: Who was the real Rosie the Riveter?”
And Giovanni Russonello of The New York Times writes the obit for Hugh Masekela, Trumpeter and Anti-Apartheid Activist. Tweets Lolly Bowean, “Certainly was hoping to see him perform one more time. But so grateful I got to see him perform Fela’s hits when he came to @northwesternu.” Sopan Deb agrees: “Hugh Masakela dies at 78. An incredible trumpet player. Getting to see him perform with Vusi Mahlasela at Carnegie Hall was a thrilling experience.”
Finally, today, “I am a lazy little baby who sometimes has trouble doing my job. Because of this, I pretended to be a productive adult for precisely one week,” Nick Greene reveals. He recaps the results in his piece for Vice, I Copied the Routines of Famous Writers and It Sucked. We’re just glad someone else did so we don’t have to, but Michael Seidlinger says he’s “Going to do this too and spend the week trying out ‘famous writers’’ different writing routines. Most looking forward to: all the coffee. Least looking forward to: 4AM wakeup (WTF???).”