Wiretap: The good news is that apparently it’s illegal even in Montana to body-slam a reporter

The new politics: On the night before the special election for Montana’s lone House seat, the Republican candidate, Greg Gianforte, was charged with misdemeanor assault for allegedly body-slamming a reporter who had made the grave mistake of asking a question about the new CBO report. It’s unclear how the charge might affect the election, but more than half of eligible voters have already voted. Via The Los Angeles Times.

Where it all began: Over the summer, as American spies were investigating the possibility that Russia was trying to influence the 2016 election, they overheard top Russian officials and intelligence officers brag that they could exert influence over several Trump advisers who could, in turn, influence Trump. Via The New York Times.

Not surprisingly, the new CBO score is not much different from the old CBO score, but the just-released report is worth reading anyway. It states, with much detail, just how much of the GOP’s defense of the bill is completely false. You can start with the fact that it would raise payments for the old and poor by as much as 850 percent. Via Vox.

In getting to something like a balanced budget after 10 years, all the Trump administration needed was a $2,000,000,000,000 math mistake. Via New York magazine.

The president meets the pope and either Francis charmed the Donald or the Donald charmed Francis, but, however it worked, it seemed to work better than anyone thought it would. Via The Atlantic.

Carl Bernstein of Watergate fame tells The New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza how the lessons of Watergate could apply to Trump: Inevitably, unreasonable government secrecy is the enemy-and, usually, the giveaway about what the real story might be.And when lying is combined with secrecy there is usually a pretty good roadmap in front of you. He added, Yes, follow the money. But also follow the lies.

From The National Review: The Seth Rich conspiracy theory is shameful and it is nonsense. And, yes, you can blame Sean Hannity. Unless you want to blame Newt Gingrich.

Five startling things that Betsy DeVos, the secretary of education, has told Congress lately. Start with the notion that states should be able to decide whether private schools that take students using publicly funded vouchers can discriminate. Via The Washington Post.

While Trump’s team and the Saudi royals were busy sword dancing or orb rubbing, the women of Saudi Arabia were living their own version of The Handmaid’s Tale. Via The New York Times.

Ross Douthat: The Handmaid’s Tale may have it right that we’re heading toward dystopia, but the story has the villain all wrong. Via The New York Times.

Photo by Tim Evanson, via Flickr: Creative Commons

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