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The Atlantic presents “The Case For Impeachment”

On Thursday, The Atlantic is coming out with a magazine cover that’s going to stand out on the newsstand. Editor in chief Jeffrey Goldberg emailed subscribers on Wednesday night to give them “the opportunity to read it first.”

The cover story, authored by Yoni Appelbaum, is titled “The Case for Impeachment.” He argues that impeaching President Trump is “the antidote to chaos,” not the chaos trigger that many people fear it would be.

“With a newly seated Democratic majority, the House of Representatives can no longer dodge its constitutional duty,” Appelbaum wrote. “It must immediately open a formal impeachment inquiry into President Trump, and bring the debate out of the court of public opinion and into Congress, where it belongs.”

By making this the cover story, Goldberg and co. are making a strong statement.

This cover story was going to be shared online in a few weeks, but Goldberg moved it up. In his email to subscribers, he said he was motivated by two events: “The Trump-caused government shutdown, unmatched in length and consequence, and the debate over whether the 45th president of the United States is secretly operating on behalf of Russia.”

“In Trump’s World, Reality Is Negotiable”

Brian Lowry emails: Tom Nichols has been one of the most bruising Never Trumpers, but he makes a really sobering point in The Atlantic about what could be the most damaging legacy of the Trump presidency and his attacks on the press and experts – namely, the idea that “reality itself, like everything else in Trump’s world, is negotiable.”

As Nichols writes, “Trump and his enablers have accomplished something even more dangerous than trying to run a government on gut feeling and conspiracy theories. They have, by attacking sources of authoritative knowledge beyond the president himself, inoculated a huge swath of the American public against ever being informed about anything, providing millions of Americans with a resistance to learning that will long outlive his administration.”

Nichols’ essay is part of the mag’s “Unthinkable” series, which launched earlier this week…

Taking the “no” out of “no collusion”

The president’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani wants you to know: “I never said there was no collusion between the campaign, or people in the campaign.”

He made the comment in this interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo on Wednesday night. He said he always asserted that his client, the president, did not personally collude: “I said the President of the United States. There is not a single bit of evidence the President of the United States committed the only crime you can commit here, conspiring with the Russians to hack the DNC.”

Rudy’s comment about the “only crime” stood out to me. Obviously there are multiple potential crimes on the table…

→ DOJ rep turned MSNBC analyst Matthew Miller tweeted: “Huh. I wonder what shoe is about to drop.”

→ Jim Acosta: “Sounds like collusion evolution.”

→ Yashar Ali: “This is always how Rudy gets ahead of news. He goes on cable TV, does a wild interview, and shares stuff that appears to be gaffe when it’s not. He did the same thing with the Stormy Daniels payments last year. It’s all intentional.”

→ Ross Garber: “Some poor producers are now stuck pulling an allnighter to create a Trump ‘no collusion’ ‘no collusion’ ‘no collusion’ ‘no collusion’ .. video montage meme.”

It’s Netflix earnings time

Netflix is forecasting 9.4 million additional subscribers in Q4… For a worldwide total of 146.5 million… We’ll get the actual #’s after the closing bell on Thursday…

How much $$ is too much?

Frank Pallotta emails: Netflix’s price hike got me thinking: How much is too much to pay for the streaming service? $15? $20? $25? $30? So I asked some of the industry’s top analysts: What’s the ceiling, really, on the cost of a streaming service?

Netflix bull Rich Greenfield’s view: “If you keep adding more content that people like, then the price point is a moving target. There isn’t really a ceiling.” More here…


– Tribune Publishing “recently tried to rekindle merger talks with Gannett,” the WSJ’s Lukas Albert and Cara Lombardo report. So what now? (WSJ)

– Chris Hansen, formerly of NBC and “To Catch a Predator” fame, “has been accused of bouncing checks and failing to pay for $13,000 worth of marketing materials he received from a local vendor,” his local paper reports… (Stamford Advocate)

– Don’t miss Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg’s deep dive into Amazon Publishing, which has 15 imprints and “tools other publishers can only dream about owning…” (WSJ)

– Hats off to The Onion for this bit of satire: “Fox News Debuts Premium Channel For 24-Hour Coverage Of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez” (The Onion)

Day 26

Stephen Colbert on the “Late Show” Wednesday night: “We have now hit day 26 of the government shutdown, and vital services are being threatened. For instance, I’ve run out of shutdown jokes. We might have to dip into the national reserve at this point…”

On a more serious note,’s list of very direct effects of the shutdown is up to 90 items… It keeps growing…

Right-wing media to Trump: Don’t cave on wall

Oliver Darcy emails: Trump’s allies in conservative media are continuing to pressure him to stand firm on his demands for border wall funding amid the longest government shutdown in US history. “Trump is assuring everyone he’s not gonna cave on this, and I hope he doesn’t,” Rush Limbaugh said this week. “We don’t get opportunities like this one presents, and I just – hope he sticks to it.” Other conservative personalties like Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, Ann Coulter, and Lou Dobbs have provided support, using their respective platforms to argue in favor of building a barrier on the southern border. And Trump appears to be paying attention. On Wednesday morning Trump tweeted statistics about “significant walls built around the world” which Media Matters’ Matthew Gertz noted appeared to be derived from an on-screen graphic Dobbs had used the night before…

>> Max Boot’s latest: “The ‘border emergency’ used to justify the shutdown is a figment of the xenophobic imaginations” of Coulter, Limbaugh and Trump…

“The State of the Union is off”

That’s what Steny Hoyer told Kate Bolduan on CNN Wednesday morning, shortly after Nancy Pelosi sent POTUS a letter throwing the January 29 State of the Union address into doubt.

Hoyer’s quote works on two levels, if you think about it… But his office later walked back his comment, saying Hoyer “mischaracterized” Pelosi’s letter.

Did he, though? “While Pelosi’s letter is framed as a request to find a new date, the decision of when to host the President is very much up to the speaker of the House,”’s story explains…

>> Jennifer Rubin’s framing for WaPo: “Facing Trump’s tantrum, Pelosi takes away the TV

Read more of Wednesday’s “Reliable Sources” newsletter… And subscribe here to receive future editions in your inbox…

Boo to the SOTU?

All over Twitter on Wednesday, commentators and some journalists advocated for scraping the annual speech altogether. I’ll confess, I didn’t understand all the SOTU hate. People who want to watch, watch. Most people don’t, so they don’t. What’s the harm? Some traditions are worth saving. But whether to hold a SOTU during a shutdown is another question…