1/ Trump said he answered Robert Mueller's written questions himself "very easily," but he hasn't submitted them because "you have to always be careful when you answer questions with people that probably have bad intentions." Rudy Giuliani said there are at least two dozen questions that relate to activities and episodes from before Trump's election. Trump spent more than five hours in meeting over three days this week with his attorneys working out written answers for Mueller about alleged collusion between his campaign and Russia during the 2016 presidential election. Despite telling reporters that "the questions were very routinely answered by me," Trump's temper boiled during all three meetings. Seemingly out of nowhere, Trump targeted Mueller on Twitter yesterday, calling the special counsel team "thugs" and the investigation a "witch hunt." (Associated Press / Reuters / CNN / Washington Post / The Guardian)

  • Senate Republicans are urging Trump to quickly nominate a permanent attorney general to end bipartisan concern over the future of the special counsel. The challenge, apparently, is persuading Trump to trust the traditional choices he doesn't have a personal relationship with, like former attorney general Bill Barr or former deputy attorney general Mark Filip. (Politico)

  • Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker assured Lindsey Graham that he won't end Mueller's investigation, despite previously publicly disparaging the special counsel. (Bloomberg)

  • Dick Cheney's former top national security aide has come under scrutiny from Mueller. The special counsel has been looking into the communications and political dealings of John Hannah, the former Cheney adviser who later worked on Trump's State Department transition team, including his interactions with Lebanese-American businessman and fixer George Nader, who brokered meetings between foreign dignitaries and the Trump campaign, as well as Joel Zamel, social media "guru" with deep ties to Israeli intelligence. (Daily Beast)

  • George Papadopoulos asked a federal judge to keep him out of prison until a constitutional challenge to Mueller's investigation is resolved. The former Trump campaign adviser pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI and is scheduled to serve a 14-day sentence starting on Nov. 26. (Washington Post)

2/ The Justice Department inadvertently revealed that it secretly filed criminal charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. The disclosure came in an unrelated court filing where prosecutors inadvertently pasted text from a similar court filing into the wrong document. The filing abruptly switched on the second page to discussing someone named "Assange," who had been charged under seal that was the subject of significant publicity, lived abroad, and would need to be extradited. It's unclear what Assange, who's been living in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London since 2012, has been charged with, but the charges likely center around the publication of emails from Democrats during the 2016 presidential campaign, and may involve the Espionage Act, which criminalizes the disclosure of national defense-related information. "The court filing was made in error," said a spokesperson for the U.S. attorney's office in Virginia. "That was not the intended name for this filing." (New York Times / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / The Guardian)

3/ A federal judge ruled in favor of CNN and Jim Acosta, ordering the White House to temporarily restore the press credentials that Trump had taken away last week. The suit alleges that CNN and Acosta's First and Fifth Amendment rights were violated by last week's suspension of his press pass. The White House said it would follow the court order and "temporarily reinstate the reporter's hard pass," as well as "develop rules and processes to ensure fair and orderly press conferences in the future." The judge, Timothy J. Kelly of Federal District Court in Washington, ruled that the Trump administration had most likely violated Acosta's due process rights, but declined to weigh in on the First Amendment issues cited by CNN. "We want total freedom of the press," Trump told reporters in the Oval Office. If journalists don't "behave," Trump said, "we'll end up back in court and we'll win." Trump added: "We have to practice decorum." (New York Times / Washington Post / Politico / CNN / The Hill)


Notables.

  1. Florida election officials ordered a hand recount of ballots in the U.S. Senate race between Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson and Governor Rick Scott. A machine count showed the two candidates divided by a margin of less than 0.25 percent. Meanwhile, the race between Republican Ron DeSantis and Tallahassee mayor Andrew Gillum is down to an 0.41 percent lead for DeSantis. (Reuters)

  2. Chuck Grassley will move from the Senate Judiciary Committee to the Finance Committee next year. Lindsey Graham is in line to replace him as chairman of the Judiciary. (Politico)

  3. Besty DeVos has received around-the-clock security from U.S. Marshals since she was confirmed, which could cost taxpayers $19.8 million through Sept. 2019. Jeff Sessions first approved the protection on Feb. 13, 2017. No other cabinet member receives an armed detail. (NBC News)

  4. The Pentagon failed its first-ever comprehensive audit. The audit found U.S. Defense Department accounting discrepancies that could take years to resolve. Some 1,200 auditors examined financial accounting on a wide range of spending, including on weapons systems, military personnel, and property. "We failed the audit, but we never expected to pass it," said Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan. "It was an audit on a $2.7 trillion dollar organization, so the fact that we did the audit is substantial," he added. (Reuters)

  5. North Korea announced a "successful" and "highly significant" test of an "ultramodern tactical weapon." It didn't appear to be a test of a nuclear device or a long-range missile with the potential to target the U.S. (ABC News / Associated Press)

  6. A Mississippi Senator said she thinks it's a "great idea" to make it harder for "liberal folks" to vote. Last week, Cindy Hyde-Smith "joked" that if she was invited "to a public hanging, I'd be on the front row." She has refused to apologize for her "public lynching" comment, and claims her voter suppression comment was the result of "selectively edit[ing]." (Washington Post)

  7. The Supreme Court will hear arguments over whether Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross can be compelled to testify in a case regarding the addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 census. The addition of the question has been challenged in six lawsuits around the country. (Washington Post)

  8. Another Trump adviser is writing a tell-all book about his time in the White House. The book by Cliff Sims, who joined the West Wing staff on Day One as a special assistant to the president, is set to be published in January. (Politico)

  9. Trump offered to nominate Mira Ricardel as ambassador to Estonia after Melania forced the deputy national security adviser out of the White House. Ricardel turned down the posting, but has since been offered nearly a dozen jobs from which to choose. (Bloomberg)

  10. Trump plans to nominate acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler as the permanent head of the environmental agency. Wheeler previously represented coal and energy-industry interests as a lobbyist. (USA Today / New York Times)

  11. Trump honored a campaign donor with the Presidential Medal of Freedom – the nation's highest civilian commendation. Miriam Adelson and her husband, Sheldon Adelson, a Las Vegas casino magnate and one of the nation's most powerful Republican donors, gave Trump's presidential campaign $30 million in the final months of the 2016 race. They also donated $100 million to the Republican Party during this past election cycle. (NBC News / New York Times)

  12. Trump has been asking aides and advisers whether they think Pence is loyal. While Trump hasn't suggested dropping Pence from the 2020 ticket, outside Trump advisers have suggested that Pence may have used up his usefulness. Others believe that asking about Pence's loyalty is a proxy for asking about whether Nick Ayers is trustworthy, who Trump has considered replacing John Kelly with. (New York Times)