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First Read's Morning Clips: Blankenship v. McConnell gets even uglier

Image: Former Massey Energy Chief Executive Don Blankenship and his attorney Bill Taylor are met by media outside the Robert C. Byrd U.S. Courthouse in Charleston West Virginia
Former Massey Energy Chief Executive Don Blankenship, front left, and his attorney Bill Taylor are met by members of the media outside the courthouse in Charleston, West Virginia, on Dec. 3. Blankenship was found guilty in federal court on Thursday of conspiring to violate safety standards at the Upper Big Branch mine, the site of a 2010 blast that killed 29 people. Chris Tilley / Reuters

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MIDTERM MADNESS: Blankenship vs. McConnell gets even nastier

FiveThirtyEight’s take: “Democrats’ Horrible 2018 Senate Map Couldn’t Have Come At A Better Time.”

The Washington Post notes the leftward pull in Democratic governors’ races across the country.

Paul Ryan and Kevin McCarthy will raise money for House Republicans together.

AL-SEN: Roy Moore is complaining of a “political conspiracy” against him in a new lawsuit.

AZ-SEN: John McCain writes in his new memoir that this is his last term, saying “I'm freer than colleagues who will face the voters again.”

FL-SEN: Rick Scott is not happy with the Florida GOP for inviting Dinesh D’Souza to a June summit.

FL-9: Alan Grayson is back, saying he’ll primary his successor, Darren Michael Soto.

IN-SEN: POLITICO offers an in-depth look at how Mike Braun swooped into the void when Luke Messer and Todd Rokita started attacking each other.

MO-GOV: The special House panel is hitting back at Gov. Eric Greitens, reaffirming that it believes his accuser is a credible witness.

MN-SEN: Amy Klobuchar doesn’t have a competitive race this fall. So why?

MT-SEN: Will Trump’s anger over the Ronny Jackson dustup hurt Tester’s standing with Montana voters?

OH-SEN: Ohio Democrats have filed an ethics complaint against Jim Renacci.

WI-GOV: Scott Walker says he would “welcome” Trump to campaign in Wisconsin.

WV-SEN: Don Blankenship is calling Mitch McConnell “Cocaine Mitch” (he may be referring to reports that drugs were once found on a shipping vessel owned by Elaine Chao’s family.)

Fox News is hosting a debate between the three major GOP candidates tonight.

TRUMP AGENDA: Move over “Moron”-gate. Here’s “Idiot”-gate

From NBC’s Carol Lee, Courtney Kube, Kristen Welker and Stephanie Ruhle: “White House chief of staff John Kelly has eroded morale in the West Wing in recent months with comments to aides that include insulting the president's intelligence and casting himself as the savior of the country, according to eight current and former White House officials. The officials said Kelly portrays himself to Trump administration aides as the lone bulwark against catastrophe, curbing the erratic urges of a president who has a questionable grasp on policy issues and the functions of government. He has referred to Trump as "an idiot" multiple times to underscore his point, according to four officials who say they've witnessed the comments.”

Kelly is denying the comments, calling the story “B.S.”

From the New York Times: “Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel investigating Russia’s election interference, has at least four dozen questions on an exhaustive array of subjects he wants to ask President Trump to learn more about his ties to Russia and determine whether he obstructed the inquiry itself, according to a list of the questions obtained by The New York Times.”

Trump allies in the House are drafting articles of impeachment against Rod Rosenstein as a “last resort,” writes the Washington Post.

So far, Trump’s tax cuts aren’t yielding a big investment boom, writes the New York Times.

Here’s NBC’s look at Netanyahu’s big address on Iran’s nuclear program yesterday.

Trump is delaying steel and aluminum tariffs for Canada, Mexico and the EU.

The Pentagon is looking into whether Ronny Jackson will face an investigation.

The first eight migrants in the caravan at the border have entered the United States for processing.

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