Opinion writer

* Tom Hamburger and Steven Mufson report on the latest potential scandal coming out of the White House:

Several current and former Trump administration appointees promoted the sale of nuclear power plants to Saudi Arabia despite repeated objections from members of the National Security Council and other senior White House officials, according to a new report from congressional Democrats.

The officials who objected included White House lawyers and H.R. McMaster, then the chief of the National Security Council, according to the report, which cited documents obtained by the committee and accounts of unnamed whistleblowers. The officials called for a halt in the nuclear sales discussions in 2017, citing potential conflicts of interest, national security risks and legal hurdles.

But the effort to promote nuclear sales persisted, led by retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who served briefly as President Trump’s national security adviser, and more recently by Energy Secretary Rick Perry. The possible nuclear power sale was discussed in the Oval Office as recently as last week.

Details about these internal White House battles are contained in a 24-page report released Tuesday morning by House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.). It said the unnamed whistleblowers inside the White House came forward because they were distressed at the continued effort to sell the power plants.

C’mon — the Saudis gave Trump a gold medal! We have to pay them back.

* Tanya Snyder has a heartwarming tale of life in Donald Trump’s Washington:

A trove of more than 800 pages of emails sheds new light on the working relationship between Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, one of the most potent power couples in Washington — including their dealings with McConnell supporters from their home state of Kentucky.

Chao has met at least 10 times with politicians and business leaders from the state in response to requests from McConnell’s office, according to documents provided to POLITICO by the watchdog group American Oversight. In some cases, those people later received what they were hoping for from Chao’s department, including infrastructure grants, the designation of an interstate highway and assistance in getting state funds for a highway project — although the documents don’t indicate the meetings led to those outcomes.

The records also do not show how frequently Chao has met with people from outside Kentucky, a state her husband has represented in the Senate since 1985, or how readily she has responded to similar requests from other lawmakers. But at least a dozen of the emails show McConnell’s staff acting as a conduit between Chao and Kentucky political figures or business leaders, some of whom have had prior relationships with the couple.

I mean, what good is a cabinet position if you can’t use it to help out your friends?

* Sarah Skidmore Sell reports that a lot of people filling out their taxes are getting a nasty surprise courtesy of the GOP tax bill.

* Christopher Stroop looks at how some Christian colleges are pushing back on LGBTQ acceptance.

* Tom Jacobs reports on research showing that liberals are more willing to grant legitimacy to Republican-run governments than conservatives are to Democratic-run governments.

* Natasha Bertrand gets some eye-opening quotes from Andrew McCabe about the shocking things he saw when dealing with President Trump.

* Jason Sattler tells Democrats how to avoid the acrimony of the 2016 primaries.

* Jonathan Cohn explains how Elizabeth Warren's ambitious child care plan would work.

* Simon Rosenberg has a good Twitter thread detailing how Trump is focused on fake threats to our future, while actively enabling and assisting all of the threats to our future that are very real.

* Robert Chesney has a great piece arguing that however the cases challenging Trump’s emergency declaration are decided, it could make for a dangerous precedent.

* Barbara McQuade breaks down some intriguing parts of the latest filings in the Roger Stone case.

* Jacqueline Froelich reports on the thousands of people in Arkansas who have been kicked off their health coverage because of the onerous bureaucratic maze of the state’s work requirements. Just as intended.

* And Robert Barnes reports that Clarence Thomas thinks it should be easier for public figures to sue people for libel, just as President Trump wants.