Skimm'd with candles and latkes

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DECEMBER 10, 2018


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Skimm'd with candles and latkes


"Can I get a copy?" – Kim Kardashian West responding to a fan who wrote his masters thesis on her. Too bad 'K' isn't a grade.


The Story

Special counsel Robert Mueller has some status updates.

Give it to me.

The first is about former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. Earlier this year, he pleaded guilty to financial crimes, many tied to his work as a pro-Russian lobbyist. But he worked out a plea agreement to cooperate with Mueller's investigation in exchange for possibly having some charges dropped. Now Mueller's office is saying 'not so fast' and accused him of breaking their agreement. Turns out Manafort apparently lied to them about a variety of things – including when and how often he's been chatting with Trump admin officials. Naughty, naughty.

You said updates. Plural.

Yep. The second one is about Michael Cohen aka President Trump's former fixer-slash-personal lawyer. Earlier this year, he pleaded guilty to charges like campaign finance violations. Then, as part of Mueller's investigation, he pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about a potential Trump biz deal in Russia. Now Mueller's team says that Cohen's helped the investigation. But NY prosecutors said he should still get significant prison time. They also said Cohen acted at the direction of Trump when he committed two election-related crimes (think: paid hush money to silence two women who said they had affairs with Trump). Cohen will be sentenced on Wednesday.

Anything else?

Quick staffing announcements: White House chief of staff John Kelly will be packing his desk by the end of the year. Also, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert is Trump's pick to succeed Nikki Haley as US ambassador to the UN. And William Barr – who previously served as AG for former President George HW Bush – is who Trump wants to be his next AG.


Although Trump has not been charged in this investigation, this latest update potentially links him to criminal conduct and even possibly defrauding voters. Some Dems think this could be grounds for impeachment, or maybe even jail time for the president. Trump's team says it's all BS.


What people in Belgium are disagreeing over…

This UN migration pact that's being adopted this week. Back in 2015, European countries struggled with an influx of migrants coming from places like Syria and Africa. And wanted ground rules on how to deal with it. After years of negotiations, they came up with this pact. It says countries that sign on agree to do things like make legal migration easier and give migrants social services. It's non-binding and mostly symbolic. But some countries where nationalism is on the rise (think: the US, Austria, Poland, Hungary, Italy) are not on board. They're worried this pact would tread on their sovereignty and their ability to control their borders. But Belgium's prime minister still plans to sign on. Granted, it cost him his majority in Parliament after a right-wing part of his coalition resigned in opposition. Now between that and recent protests reportedly over fuel taxes and the cost of living in the country, the prime minister is trying to hold his government together.

What to say when you can't decide if it's delivery or DiGiorno…

Vote on it. Tomorrow, UK lawmakers will vote on the Brexit deal Prime Minister Theresa May and the EU have agreed on. People from all over the political spectrum aren't happy about it. And thousands came out this weekend to protest – both for and against it. Speaking of protests, the ones in France are still going strong. There have been protests for weeks over the gov's proposed fuel tax. Last week, French President Macron gave in to demands and scrapped it. But this weekend, more than 125,000 still turned out to protest. Many called on him to resign. Some rioted, looted businesses, and burned cars. Police responded with tear gas and rubber bullets. More than 130 people were injured and more than 1,200 people were taken into custody.

What to say when your manager asks you to lead the meeting…

Putting on the pressure. The US's trade rep is threatening China with more tariffs if the two don't reach a trade deal by March of next year. Earlier this month, the US and China decided to hit pause on new tariffs while they work things out. But then it came out that the CFO of Huawei – a Chinese tech co the US says poses a national security risk – was arrested in Canada at the US's request. The reason: she allegedly helped Huawei violate Iran sanctions. Today, her bail hearing continues. How this all plays out could impact trade negotiations on hundreds of billions of dollars worth of goods.

What people are talking about…

Charlottesville, VA. On Friday, the man who killed Heather Heyer was convicted of first-degree murder and nine other charges, after he plowed his car into a group of counterprotesters at last year's white supremacist rally. Sentencing begins today. He'll be back on trial next year for federal hate crime charges – which, if he gets convicted, could mean he'll face the death penalty.

Who people are talking about…

Oklahoma QB Kyler Murray, who won the Heisman Trophy this weekend. Hours after the win, he apologized for past homophobic tweets that came to light. This is expected to be Murray's last season in college football. After this, he's picking up his baseball glove and joining the Oakland A's.

What to say when you hear the ladies are taking over...

I said I like it like that.



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