Today’s edition of quick hits:
* Former CIA Director John Brennan responds to the president revoking his clearance: “This action is part of a broader effort by Mr. Trump to suppress freedom of speech & punish critics. It should gravely worry all Americans, including intelligence professionals, about the cost of speaking out. My principles are worth far more than clearances. I will not relent.”
* Closing arguments: “Paul Manafort lied to hide the full extent of his wealth from U.S. tax authorities and lied some more to obtain loans that would continue to fund his luxurious lifestyle, prosecutors said Wednesday during the closing arguments of the federal fraud trial of President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman.”
* Afghanistan: “Taliban insurgents overran an Afghan Army base and a police checkpoint in northern Afghanistan on Wednesday, killing at least 39 soldiers and police officers, officials said, and a suicide bomber in the capital killed at least 48 people in a classroom.”
* Gut-wrenching findings: “Bishops and other leaders of the Roman Catholic Church in Pennsylvania covered up child sexual abuse by more than 300 priests over a period of 70 years, persuading victims not to report the abuse and law enforcement not to investigate it, according to a searing report issued by a grand jury on Tuesday.”
* When a NATO member turns to Russia: “Turkey, a longtime North Atlantic Treaty Organization ally, has been caught between the West and Russia. This week, officials in Ankara were leaning decidedly toward Moscow.”
* A provocative report: “In its investigation of Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, the Senate Intelligence Committee has spent more than a year trying to follow the money. But its efforts, unparalleled on Capitol Hill, have been hampered by a surprising force: the US Treasury Department, which has delayed turning over crucial financial records and refused to provide an expert to help make sense of the complex money trail. Even some of the department’s own personnel have questioned whether Treasury is intentionally hamstringing the investigation.”
* Jones gets a time-out: “Twitter on Tuesday put temporary limits on the account of Alex Jones, a move that marks the latest restriction by a Silicon Valley company on the controversial conspiracy theorist and radio host.”
* Donald Trump declared via Twitter today, “Our Country was built on Tariffs, and Tariffs are now leading us to great new Trade Deals - as opposed to the horrible and unfair Trade Deals that I inherited as your President.” In case anyone’s counting, the grand total of trade deals Trump has finalized since taking office is zero.
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.