Happy Saturday. Get up — it's Game Day! Situational awareness: Bob Mueller moves ever closer to the Oval. A team of his investigators yesterday interviewed former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus for the full day.
Jaw-dropper from NBC News, on Paul Manafort's "$60 million relationship with a Russian oligarch": "Manafort's spokesman, Jason Maloni, ... released a statement ... saying, in part, 'Mr. Manafort is not indebted to former clients today, nor was he at the time he began working for the Trump campaign.' He later revised the statement, removing that sentence entirely."
3. Health move hits Trump country
"President Trump lit a fuse this week that will blow a hole in the Affordable Care Act, but the collateral damage could very well include fellow Republicans," the Boston's Globe's Victoria McGrane writes on p. 1:
- What happened: "Trump moved Thursday night to eliminate payments to insurance companies that subsidized out-of-pocket medical costs for lower-income people."
- Why it matters: "Health care specialists predict this $7 billion cut will trigger a destabilizing cascade that will jeopardize health care access for millions of Americans, as insurance companies jack up premiums or pull out of the federal exchanges altogether."
- "The step also heightens the risk that Republicans will be blamed for higher costs and other market disruptions stemming from Trump's administrative assaults on the health care law."
- What's next: "Polling indicates that Americans, including many Republicans, will indeed point the finger at the GOP. Sixty percent of Americans say they view Republicans as 'responsible for problems' in the health law moving forward, according to an August survey by the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation."
How it's playing ... L.A. Times lead story, "Trump move threatens to deliver chaos to health care: Insurance markets are expected to raise premiums sharply after key cost-sharing subsidies are blocked."
Bonus: Who Trump attacks most on Twitter
Methodology: Axios' Stef Kight looked through every Trump tweet since the inauguration, and noted each time he used Twitter exclusively to name-call, shame, insult or mock a specific person, company or industry, as well as each entity being attacked. (Not every negative comment qualified as an "attack.")
- Share the graphic from Axios.
4. 90,000 displaced in Wine Country inferno
"Signs of progress cheered battle-weary firefighters Friday after their multi-pronged attack using helicopters, air tankers and hand crews significantly corralled the deadly fires spreading across Northern California," the S.F. Chronicle reported early this morning, ET:
- "There are now 17 fires burning statewide, including 15 in Northern California, which have blackened 222,000 acres, or about 330 square miles."
- 5,700 structures (homes and businesses) destroyed.
- 35 killed.
- 90,000 people displaced.
5. Afghanistan hostage couple returns
"Former hostage Joshua Boyle says the Haqqani network in Afghanistan killed his infant daughter and raped his American wife during the five years they were held in captivity," AP reports from Toronto:
- "Boyle gave the statement shortly after landing in Canada late Friday with his wife, Caitlan Coleman [from Stewartstown, Pa.], and three young children."
- "The couple was rescued [in Pakistan] Wednesday, five years after they had been abducted by the Taliban-linked extremist network while in Afghanistan as part of a backpacking trip."
- "Coleman was pregnant at the time and had four children in captivity. The birth of the fourth child had not been publicly known before Boyle appeared before journalists at the Toronto airport."
- "A U.S. national security official ... said the U.S. obtained actionable information, passed it to Pakistani government officials, asked them to interdict and recover the hostages — and they did."
- Trump tweeted yesterday: "Starting to develop a much better relationship with Pakistan and its leaders. I want to thank them for their cooperation on many fronts."
6. When machines run the markets
"Black Monday 2: The Next Machine-Driven Meltdown ... In the rise of computer-driven trading, some hear echoes of the stock market's 1987 crash," per the Barron's cover story, by Ben Levisohn:
- The problem: "[M]arket participants have come to rely increasingly on computers to run quantitative, rules-based systems known as algorithms to pick stocks, mitigate risk, place trades, bet on volatility, and much more — and they bear a resemblance to those blamed for Black Monday ... Oct. 19, 1987 — when the Dow Jones Industrial Average shed nearly a quarter of its value in wave after wave of selling."
- Why it matters: "The proliferation of computer-driven investing has created an illusion that risk can be measured and managed."
- "But several anomalous episodes in recent years involving sudden, severe, and seemingly inexplicable price swings suggest that the next market selloff could be exacerbated by the fact that machines are at the controls."
7. Nine days that shook Hollywood
"Weinstein Co. is exploring a sale or shutdown and is unlikely to continue as an independent entity, a person close to the company said," per a Wall Street Journal front-pager:
- "The film and television studio's board of directors and other people close to the company have been approached by possible buyers."
- "If Weinstein Co. were bought whole and continued to operate, suitors might include hedge funds looking to have a U.S. entertainment asset."
- "Another possibility is that Weinstein Co. would be shut down and its library of movies and TV shows and other assets sold in pieces."
- Why it matters: "A sale or shutdown would mark an ignominious end for Weinstein Co. and a shake-up of the independent film scene, where the studio has long been a powerhouse."
8. Sound familiar?
Nationalist wave rolls on ... In election tomorrow, "Austrian voters concerned about immigration, Islam," by AP's George Jahn in Vienna:
- Why it matters: Tomorrow's election "could turn the country rightward after decades of centrist governance amid voter concerns over immigration and Islam."
- "The People's Party, which has shifted from centrist to right-wing positions, is leading in the pre-vote polls. Austria's traditionally right-wing, anti-migrant Freedom Party is expected to come in second and the center-left Social Democrats [first or second in elections since World War II] are thought to be trailing in third place."
- "Favoring the People's and Freedom parties is distrust of migrants and Muslims among many Austrian voters."
- The backdrop: "The 2015 influx of hundreds of thousands of people fleeing the war in Syria and poverty elsewhere into the EU's prosperous heartland left Austria with nearly 100,000 new and mostly Muslim migrants."
- "That has fueled fears Austria's traditional Western and Christian culture is in danger. As a result, voters are receptive to the anti-migrant platforms of both the People's Party and the Freedom Party."
- Go deeper: Q&A on Austria's rightward drift.
10. 1 teen thing
The cover story of tomorrow's N.Y. Times Magazine, "More American Teenagers Than Ever [Are] Suffering From Severe Anxiety," is this week's most-read story on NYTimes.com, and worthy of your weekend time:
- What's new: "Over the last decade, anxiety has overtaken depression as the most common reason college students seek counseling services."
- Key stat: "In 1985, the Higher Education Research Institute at U.C.L.A. began asking incoming college freshmen if they 'felt overwhelmed by all I had to do' during the previous year. In 1985, 18 percent said they did. By 2010, that number had increased to 29 percent. Last year, it surged to 41 percent."
- Why it matters: "[H]ospital admissions for suicidal teenagers [doubled] over the last 10 years, with the highest rates occurring soon after they return to school each fall ... [H]igh school administrators across the country ... report a glut of anxious, overwhelmed students."
- Keep reading.
P.S. I like to leave you on an uplifting note, so I also recommend the cover story of the WashPost Magazine, food critic Tom Sietsema's Top 10 D.C. restaurants.
- Spoiler: The Inn at Little Washington is #1.