A remarkably ugly story

Feb 08, 2018

White House staff secretary Rob Porter’s has resigned amid abuse allegations, as Jonathan Swan of Axios reports, while Kaitlan Collins, Kevin Liptak and Dan Merica of CNN report that White House officials knew about Porter's abuse allegations. Justin Miller highlights the fact that “Porter got promoted after Kelly learned of wife-beating allegations last fall.” The Axios story notes that senior officials including John Kelly were trying to convince Porter “to stay and fight.” Simon Maloy’s take: “hi John Kelly is bad.” Referring to Josh Dawsey’s piece in The Washington Post about Porter’s resignation, Senior White House official to resign following allegations of abuse, Philip Bump says, “This is a remarkably ugly story to have just been sitting under the surface.”

POLITICO’s Andrew Restuccia covers the story in White House aide Rob Porter resigns after allegations from ex-wives, and Trevor Aaronson asks, “How many more Trump admin officials need to resign following scandal before we have enough names for a deck of cards? We must be getting close now.”

Rob Porter's ex-wives detail abuse allegations to MJ Lee and Kevin Liptak of CNN, and Lee points out “Another painful detail: Both ex-wives tell me a woman claiming to be Porter’s girlfriend contacted each of them last year, asking for help. She said she was being abused by Porter, and wanted their advice.” Ryan Grim and Alleen Brown of The Intercept are also reporting that the Former Wives of Top White House Aide Rob Porter Both Told FBI He Abused Them (15,000+ shares).

And “This is what Rob Porter's ex-wife wrote about his abuse of her, back in April,” tweets Talia Lavin. Read Why I stayed for Jennie Willoughby’s first-person account of the abuse. Beth Reinhard notes, “Porter tried to get to her take down blog detailing the abuse but not naming him 3x - in April when it posted, in the fall when he couldn't get security clearance and in the last two weeks.”


The exclusive from Cynthia McFadden, William M. Arkin and Kevin Monahan of NBC News is that Jeanette Manfra, the head of cybersecurity at the Department of Homeland Security, says the Russians penetrated U.S. voter registration rolls in several states (149,000+ shares) prior to the 2016 election. Molly K. McKew emphasizes “Two amazing things in this underreported article. - ‘The US official in charge of protecting elections from hacking.’ The *ONE* US official. Singular. Ok. - confirmation Russian GOVERNMENT successfully hacked US election systems. And paid no price.” “Well this is great news,” deadpans Nathan Ingraham. Julie Brown is “Waiting to hear whether Florida has been hacked, because Florida.”

Meanwhile, AP’s Jon Gambrell reports that during a talk in Abu Dhabi, George W. Bush says Russia meddled in 2016 US election.

The Devin Nunes of the Senate

In not-a-bombshell news, Texts From 2016 Show FBI Employees Preparing Obama Briefing on Russia, which Del Wilber details for The Wall Street Journal. Rebecca Ballhaus explains: “Those texts Trump called ‘BOMBSHELLS’ earlier today showed FBI employees prepping to brief Obama about Russia's interference in the 2016 election—not, as Sen. Johnson suggested, Obama meddling in the Clinton investigation. @delwilber decodes the texts.” “So basically @RonJohnsonWI is the Devin Nunes of the Senate,” is how Mark Follman puts it.

At CNN, Oliver Darcy writes about how Right-wing media obsesses over FBI text message story; hours later it's debunked.

More scoops

Noah Shachtman directs you to the “EXCLUSIVE from @woodruffbets: ICE is trying to join the ranks of America's intelligence agencies under Trump. It's a prospect civil libertarians find ‘frankly terrifying.’” That’s ICE Wants to Be an Intelligence Agency Under Trump, by Betsy Woodruff of The Daily Beast. Jennifer Salan thinks “This makes about as much sense as Vanilla ICE becoming part of the intel community.” “Oh, hell no,” says Jeffrey Vagle.

New from Farnaz Fassihi and Felicia Schwartz of The Wall Street Journal, U.S. Secretly Offered Iran a Channel for Talks on Prisoners. Tweets Fassihi, “Despite all his bluster on #Iran, #Trump secretly offered #Iran direct negotiations on prisoner swap.” Sigurd Neubauer is not surprised: “It was inevitable that Trump-admin would seek to engage Iran. Tehran is too powerful of a player not to engage.”

“BIG READ: Former @Rep_Hunter aides have been testifying before a grand jury in the criminal investigation of their boss. His family also subpoenaed. GO DEEP on the probe & how Hunter ended up here. w/ @BresPolitico,” tweets Rachael Bade of her new piece in POLITICO with John Bresnahan, From Fallujah to FBI investigation: The undoing of Duncan Hunter.

Listen to women

“Northwestern prof who once insulted Amanda Terkel's talent based on her voice is now accused of harassment by 10 women (And for the record, @aterkel is supremely talented and needs no advice from this dude!!).” Tyler Kingkade is referring to Ten women accuse Northwestern journalism professor Alec Klein of sexual harassment and assault, posted at the Chicago Reader by Maya Dukmasova. “There is a reason I have never applied for the Medill Justice Project. Whisper networks are powerful, but it's even more powerful to read this letter,” says Natalie Escobar. And “Listen to women,” as Katherine Mirani says. 

Above all, annoying

“.@kashhill is so good on describing the nightmare of a smart home,” says Sheera Frenkel. See for yourself in The House That Spied on Me, by Kashmir Hill and Surya Mattu of Gizmodo. As Hill tweets, “*hits publish* *tears smart mattress tracker off bed*” Shaun Waterman dubs the piece “Hilarious and terrifying by turns, @kashhill dissects the privacy crushing, non-interoperable and above all annoying #InternetOfThings devices being touted as ‘the smart home.’” Adds Ryan Mac, “.@kashhill is the best because she finds stories hidden in plain sight that always scare the shit out of me.”

So maybe you need a dumber house, but in the meantime, how about a challenge? “WELCOME TO THE AMERICAN MALL! Play Bloomberg's new delightfully absurd game, where you try to keep a dying mall alive as long as you can,” tweets Kim Bhasin, of Bloomberg’s A 2018 Retail Challenge.


“Jeez. He’s 200% less guarded than Noel and Liam combined. I checked repeatedly that it wasn’t parody,” says Andy Langer. “Fucking hell this interview is amazing,” adds Chris Mandle. They can only be talking about one thing: David Marchese’s interview with Quincy Jones for Vulture, Quincy Jones on Michael Jackson, the Trumps, and Modern Pop (345,000+ shares). To put it mildly, “This interview is worth every single minute of your time. Gaddam!” says Christine Mungai. Andy Hoffman asks, “A bit off topic here but is this Quincy Jones Q&A not the greatest interview you're read since when? When?” And Mark MacKinnon answers: “This might be the greatest interview I’ve ever read.” A warning, though, from Joshua Topolsky: “The worst part about this incredible interview is how small and boring it makes your life seem.”

Oh, and TMZ did some fact-checking: Richard Pryor's Widow Confirms He Slept with Marlon Brando (78,000+ shares). After all, as she points out, “It was the '70s! Drugs were still good, especially quaaludes. If you did enough cocaine, you'd f*** a radiator and send it flowers in the morning.” What more is there to say?

Media round-up:

About the author

Nashville-based writer, marketing communications consultant, and all-around word nerd. Usually covered in dog and/or cat hair.

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