Good Sunday morning. It's College Football Playoff selection day for New Year's bowl matchups. AP's Ralph Russo reports that the three locks for the final four are defending national champion Clemson, Chip and Kathleen's Southeastern Conference champion Georgia, Big 12 champ Oklahoma — plus either Alabama or Ohio State.
Brian Ross for four weeks without pay for Friday's botched report on Mike Flynn's agreement with Mueller.
John Dowd, President Trump's personal lawyer, tells me that a Trump tweet that caused an eruption yesterday was "my mistake," made in a tweet he had drafted and passed to White House social media director Dan Scavino.
Why it matters: If Trump knew, before he fired Flynn, that the aide had lied to the FBI, that would further taint Trump's months-later firing of FBI Director James Comey. It would also make his appeals to Comey to go easy on Flynn all the more problematic.
Here's what Dowd says happened ... When acting attorney general Sally Yates (later fired by Trump) went to the White House on Jan. 26, she told White House Counsel Don McGahn that Flynn had "given the agents the same story he gave the Vice President" about his interactions with Russians.
Be smart: The tweet, and this explanation, are just plain suspicious and weird. Flynn was fired for lying to Pence. FBI agents said he told them the same story.
Breaking ... "Trump is attacking his own FBI in a series of tweets and says the law enforcement agency's reputation is 'in Tatters - worst in History!' The president says in a tweet that 'we will bring it back to greatness.'"
Article of the day, "Emails Dispute Picture of Flynn As a Rogue Actor," on N.Y. Times front page:
After taking a hit for the loss on health reform, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) restored his reputation as a skilled tactician with the passage of a tax package that few thought would make it out of the Senate before year's end.
McConnell-watchers deconstruct his secret sauce:
White House national security adviser H.R. McMaster said yesterday at the Reagan Presidential Library in California that North Korea is "the greatest immediate threat to the United States":
2017 Kennedy Center Honorees and officials, following last night's State Department dinner for the Kennedy Center Honors:
"Hours after the pre-dawn passage of a $1.5 trillion tax cut, President Trump suggested for the first time ... that he would consider a higher corporate rate than the one Senate Republicans had just endorsed," the WashPost's David Lynch and Damian Paletta report in the paper's lead story:
Century City lawyer Marty Singer is the man celebrities call when a career is skidding toward scandal — Hollywood's favorite legal hit man, L.A. Times arts and film writer Jeffrey Fleishman reports on A1:
For some women who have been raped, abused and harassed, each day since the Weinstein bombshell "is a fresh hell, as unnerving headlines and stories seep into daily life," AP's Tamara Lush writes from St. Petersburg, Fla.:
... from last night's black-tie Gridiron Club Winter Dinner:
Our children's children's children will debate the events of this epic year. Countless books will be written about particular moments. So as we head for 2018, Axios AM captures 2017 in smart brevity: 1 picture and 1 sentence a day, for 30 days, climaxing on New Year's Day. We begin with an ending ...
Jan. 10 ... President Barack Obama wipes away tears as he speaks at McCormick Place in Chicago, giving his farewell address:
"[W]hether you're young or young at heart, I do have one final ask of you as your president — the same thing I asked when you took a chance on me eight years ago. I am asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about change — but in yours.
"I am asking you to hold fast to that faith written into our founding documents; that idea whispered by slaves and abolitionists; that spirit sung by immigrants and homesteaders and those who marched for justice; that creed reaffirmed by those who planted flags from foreign battlefields to the surface of the moon; a creed at the core of every American whose story is not yet written: Yes we can. Yes we did. Yes we can."
A book about the Trump campaign that will be out Tuesday — "Let Trump Be Trump," by top campaign officials Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie — includes a typical Trump order from McDonald's (via WashPost): "two Big Macs, two Fillet-O-Fish, and a chocolate malted."
Axios AM did a little math, using the Nutrition Calculator on the McDonald's website:
For one meal, that's a whopper 2,430 calories and 111 grams of fat.