Who Wrote the Op-Ed?: Members of the Trump administration are denying they wrote the unprecedented anonymous editorial 

Thursday, September 6, 2018
President Trump reads from an article praising his administration as he answers a journalist during a meeting with sheriffs at the White House Wednesday. Credit: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

Who Wrote the Op-Ed?: Members of the Trump administration are denying they wrote the unprecedented anonymous NYT editorial

"The Era of the Wild West in Social Media is Coming to an End": Takeaways from Wednesday's Big Tech hearings

This Nike Kaepernick Commercial is Airing During Tonight's Opening NFL Game: Nike's just doing it

Hunter Schwarz

What Washington is Talking About:
Wondering who wrote the anonymous New York Times op-ed. Today is Brett Kavanaugh's third day of confirmation hearings. New Jersey Democrat Sen. Cory Booker released confidential documents related to Kavanaugh, violating Senate rules.

What America is Talking About:
An anonymous "senior official in the Trump administration" wrote a 965-word op-ed in the New York Times saying that he or she and other senior members of the administration believe the President of the United States acts "in a manner that is detrimental to the health of our republic." The author wrote that members of the administration concerned about President Trump's behavior "have gone to great lengths to keep bad decisions contained to the West Wing," and said there were "early whispers" of invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office, but "no one wanted to precipitate a constitutional crisis." The editorial posted last night online and appeared on page A21 of today's New York Times with an illustration by the firm Delcan & Company, with art direction by Jim Datz.
Credit: Hunter Schwarz

Poll of the Day:
Americans are split about Trump's behavior. A Gallup poll released today found about three in 10 of those questioned believe he acted illegally in connection with Russian officials' involvement with his 2016 campaign and in the hush-money payments made to women with whom he allegedly had affairs. The poll found 35% believe Trump did "nothing seriously wrong" with regards to Russia, and 23% said the same thing about the payments.
Credit: Gallup

Who Wrote the Op-Ed?:
Members of the administration are coming out to deny they wrote or distance themselves from the op-ed. This is bananas. Denials have come in so far from the following people or spokespeople for them: Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, HUD Secretary Ben Carson, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, Defense Department Secretary Jim Mattis, Labor Department Secretary Alex Acosta, and VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. You can read the growing list here. Press Secretary Sarah Sanders tweeted this:
 
Credit: @PressSec/Twitter

FLOTUS Says Op-Ed Writer is "Sabotaging" Our Country:
First lady Melania Trump said in a statement the writer was "cowardly." She told Kate:

"Freedom of speech is an important pillar of our nation's founding principles and a free press is important to our democracy.  The press should be fair, unbiased and responsible. 

Unidentified sources have become the majority of the voices people hear about in today's news. People with no names are writing our nation's history. Words are important, and accusations can lead to severe consequences.  If a person is bold enough to accuse people of negative actions, they have a responsibility to publicly stand by their words and people have the right to be able to defend themselves.  

To the writer of the oped – you are not protecting this country, you are sabotaging it with your cowardly actions."


Kamala Harris Asks Kavanaugh if He Spoke About Mueller Investigation:
The California Democrat asked Kavanaugh if he had ever discussed special counsel Robert Mueller or his investigation with anyone at Kasowitz Benson Torres, a law firm founded by Trump lawyer Marc Kasowitz. Kavanaugh asked if Sen. Harris was referring to anyone in particular, and Harris said, "I think you are thinking of someone, and you don't want to tell us." If you missed the clip, you can watch it here. A Democratic aide told CNN they "have reason to believe that a conversation happened and are continuing to pursue it," but provided no further details. Kavanaugh said today he has not had "inappropriate" conversations about Mueller's investigation "with anyone," and said he didn't recall having conversations of that kind with members of the firm.
Credit: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

"The Era of the Wild West in Social Media is Coming to an End":
In most any other news cycle, yesterday's hearings with Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg and Twitter's Jack Dorsey would have been a top story, but it was buried underneath an unprecedented White House crisis and the confirmation for a lifetime Supreme Court nominee, so I get it. Here are some Cliff Notes:
  • No one from Google showed up.
Credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images
  • Republicans brought up concerns about conservatives being silenced or censored, and Rep. Frank Pallone, D-New Jersey, accused Trump and other Republicans of peddling "conspiracy theories about Twitter and other social media platforms to whip up their base and fundraise."
  • Dorsey said Twitter has not found evidence of bias and they found there was no statistical difference between how frequently tweets by Dems and Repub lawmakers were seen by users.
  • Sen. Mark Warner, D-Virginia, said legislation regulating Big Tech could be coming. "I'm skeptical that, ultimately, you'll be able to truly address this challenge on your own," he said. "Congress is going to have to take action here." Warner said the "era of the Wild West in social media is coming to an end."
  • Rep. Billy Long, R-Missouri, drowned out a protester by using mad skillz from his pre-political life when he was an auctioneer lol.
Bernie Introduces Stop BEZOS Act:
Sen. Bernie Sanders took aim at Amazon and other large retailers with his Stop Bad Employers by Zeroing Out Subsidies bill (abbreviated to Stop BEZOS, because of course), introduced Wednesday. The bill would tax large companies for the public benefits their workers receive. "We do not believe that taxpayers should have to expend huge sums of money subsidizing profitable corporations owned by some of the wealthiest people in this country," Sanders said. "That's what a rigged economy is about."

Kim K Calls for "Systemic Change" to Clemency Process:
The White House listening session about the clemency process that Kim Kardashian West attended yesterday lasted about an hour and a half, and the reality star and activist was an active participant who gave "concrete feedback," attendee Jessica Jackson Sloan told CNN. "(Kardashian West), like everybody else in that room, agreed that we need a more streamlined and transparent process that respects those who are inside throughout it but one that can lead to clemency being used more regularly," Sloan said. Kim tweeted several photos of the meeting and wrote, "It's time for REAL systemic change."
Credit: @kimkardashian/Twitter

This Nike Kaepernick Commercial is Airing During Tonight's Opening NFL Game:
It's opening day of the 2018-2019 NFL season (reigning Super Bowl champs the Philadelphia Eagles host the Atlanta Falcons tonight at 8:20 p.m. ET on NBC), and Nike will air a 90-second version of its "Dream Crazy" ad during the game, per the New York Times. The commercial has racked up more than 5.5 million views on Nike's YouTube channel. The extended commercial sticks mostly to sports, but at the 1:10 mark, Colin Kaepernick says, "Don't become the best basketball player on the planet, be bigger than basketball," over images of LeBron James playing in high school and opening his "I Promise" school in Akron, Ohio. It then cuts to a shot of Kaep standing in front of an image of an American flag projected on the facade of a building as he says the words on his viral "Just do it" ad: "Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything."
Credit: Nike/YouTube

Street Art Sighting:
This anti-Kavanaugh poster was spotted on 17th and I Street NW Tuesday, and yes, Roe v. Wade is more popular than Kavanaugh. A Fox News poll last month found  45% of American voters support Kavanaugh being confirmed, while 63% support Roe v. Wade, per a July Quinnipiac poll.
Credit: Claire Joyce

If you spot political street art, tweet me @hunterschwarz, tag me on Instagram @hunterschwarz, or email me at coverlinehunter@cnn.com with your sighting so I can feature it in COVER/LINE.

P.S.:
There have been many parodies of Nike's Colin Kaepernick ad this week (DJTJ even posted one of his dad). This one, posted by a meme aggregator Instagram account, is my favorite.

Kate Bennett is off.
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