Axios - Politics
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Trump picks McMaster to replace Flynn

AP Photo/Susan Walsh

Trump told reporters today that Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster will be taking over as national security advisor. He's replacing Michael Flynn who stepped down after controversy surrounding Russia ties. Trump called McMaster "a man of tremendous talent and tremendous experience."

Who is McMaster? Tom Ricks of Foreign Policy, who says he's known McMaster since he was a major, wrote before the announcement that he's "smart, energetic, and tough" and has good combat experience. Ricks also identifies the key challenge facing McMaster: "To do the job right, McMaster needs to bring in his own people. And it remains unclear if he can get that." Ricks says most people he talked to who have worked for McMaster would follow him into the Trump White House.

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Russia's UN ambassador dies in NYC

John Minchillo / AP

The Russian foreign ministry says Vitaly Churkin, its ambassador to the United Nations, has died in New York City. He was 64. Russia did not offer details on his death, but said in a statement:

A prominent Russian diplomat has passed away while at work. We'd like to express our sincere condolences to Vitaly Churkin's family — Russian Foreign Ministry
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Not invited to administration Obamacare meeting: Treasury

(Carolyn Kaster / AP)

Members of the Trump administration got together on Sunday to talk about President Trump's plan to repeal and replace Obamacare — but a photo tweeted by White House chief of staff Reince Priebus doesn't show any Treasury Department officials at the table, despite the likelihood that the plan will involve big tax changes.

At the table were many members of the president's health care and policy teams, including Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, yet-to-be confirmed Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services head Seema Verma, and White House aide Stephen Miller.

But no one from the Treasury Department was there, and a source who heard about the snub from a White House economic adviser said the department feels shut out of the process. A White House spokesperson responded that while Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin "wasn't in attendance at this particular meeting, he is absolutely involved in the discussion of how best to repeal and replace Obamacare."

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The growing fight to save local newsrooms

Non-profits and media distribution companies are stepping in to support local newsrooms as they navigate the chaotic news cycle of the new administration and the rapidly-changing digital news environment.

The non-profits

Poynter is dedicating a reporter to cover the transformation of local and regional journalism full-time, in addition to launching a weekly newsletter. The Knight-Lenfest Newsroom Initiative made a $5 million investment to continue a program that helps local papers transform their newsrooms to support digital storytelling. Local News Lab relaunched its site to include updated guidebooks to help local newsrooms survive the transition into the digital age. MuckRock started a Slack channel in January to help journalists all over the country, including 50% local news reporters, better cover the Trump Administration.

The platforms

Facebook finally took its initiative to reach out to local journalists to the road, hosting around 70 print and broadcast reporters — mostly from Texas — for a Dallas forum about best practices and the future of news. The move is part of the Facebook Journalism Project. Google introduced a local news source tag in May that algorithmically favors local sources in users' feeds. The tag labels stories that are reported first-hand by local sources.
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10 Axios stories to get you caught up on last week

Lazaro Gamio / Axios

Use the holiday to get caught up on last week.
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Adios, Milo

After Breitbart provocateur Milo was announced Saturday (the day after his bro-out with Bill Maher) as a speaker at CPAC — the Conservative Political Action Conference, which opens Wednesday — the self-described "virtuous troll" got hit with fatal oppo on the Twitter feed of the Reagan Battalion:

Milo replies on Facebook: "A note for idiots (UPDATED): I do not support pedophilia. Period. ... If it somehow comes across (through my own sloppy phrasing or through deceptive editing) that I meant any of the ugly things alleged, let me set the record straight ... I am completely disgusted by the abuse of children. "

The board of the American Conservative Union, which stages CPAC, includes Kellyanne Conway, John Bolton, Grover Norquist, Becky Norton Dunlap, Ron Christie, José Cárdenas, etc.

Chances Milo speaks at CPAC, with hundreds of young attendees: next to zero.

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Trump explains what happened in Sweden

Chris O'Meara / AP

At his rally on Saturday, Trump talked about the dangers of open borders and vaguely referenced a Friday night event in Sweden: "You look at what's happening last night in Sweden. Sweden, who would believe this? Sweden."

There was no terrorist attack in Sweden Friday night. This afternoon, Trump explained what he was referring to:

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Inside the resistance

Paul Morigi / AP

Republican members are in for one hell of a recess week. Progressive groups are circulating information about town hall meetings on a MoveOn.org-powered website, "Resistance Recess."

More than a dozen major groups in the institutional left are involved, with groups like Planned Parenthood and unions like SEIU organizing protests. The former Hillary Clinton super PAC Priorities USA is running localized digital ads — its first paid ads since the election — to spotlight Republican town halls. Democratic leaders like Bernie Sanders and Chuck Schumer will lead events.

What's in store:

  • "Resistance Events" will target everyone from Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton (Wednesday evening) to Indiana Rep. Jackie Walorski (Tuesday morning) to Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz (Saturday morning). Protesters can find them by locale or zip code on resistancerecess.com.
  • Nobody is safe. Not even the members ducking town halls. Our Revolution, the group that spun off from Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign, will launch a map tomorrow showing every congressional district in the country that they intend to swarm next Saturday.
  • Shannon Jackson, Our Revolution's executive director, says they've already got close to 200 events planned around the country and will be rallying outside nearly every Republican congressional office.

Resisting the resistance: House Republicans have been intensely prepping for these confrontations. At least 175 members attended Obamacare "listening sessions" — which were really detailed policy briefing sessions — convened by House Majority Whip Steve Scalise.