Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi “will remain” hospitalized “at least another two nights” after he was “hit in the face with a heavy figurine” of Milan’s Duomo over the weekend (see 12/14 Hotline), and is “unlikely to leave” before 12/16. Berlusconi “was suffering from a severe headache and has difficulty eating,” he lost “half a litre” of blood and he suffered a “broken nose.”
Italian media reported that Berlusconi’s attacker, Massimo Tartaglia, 42, released a letter through his atty apologizing for his “superficial, cowardly and inconsiderate act.” Tartaglia added that he “acted alone (with no) form of military or political affiliation” (London Telegraph, 12/15).
Still a “debate raged” in Italy over “whether a new climate of hate was dominating” the country (Dinmore/Boland, Washington Post, 12/15). “Dozens of groups supporting” the figurine-thrower’s actions “have sprung up on Facebook,” and officials said the gov’t “would discuss measures to block those sites” (Povoledo, New York Times, 12/15).
It is “unclear” how Berlusconi “will emerge from the attack.” His personal doctor reported on his first night in the hospital, “He is subdued, very gloomy. He is reacting ina way that is not like him.” And “photographs of Berlusconi’s slashed and bruised visage will now forever be part of the way we see the perma-tanned and image-conscious billionaire.”
But “this was not the first time an onlooker had launched a dangerous object” at Berlusconi. Five years ago, a man “threw his tripod” at Berlusconi, who “suffered minor shoulder injuries” and “publicly forgave his attacker” after getting a letter of apology (Israely, Time, 12/14).
What We're Following See More »
"Senate GOP leaders picked up support Wednesday for their plan to pass a scaled-back bill to repeal a handful of elements in the current health law, and then open negotiations with House Republicans to try to bring together their two very different bills."
"Paul Manafort, who served as a top aide to President Trump’s 2016 campaign, on Tuesday provided congressional investigators notes he took during a Trump Tower meeting with a Russian lawyer that has emerged as a focus in the investigation of Russian interference in the election. Manafort’s submission, which came as he was interviewed in a closed session by staff members for the Senate Intelligence Committee, could offer a key contemporaneous account of the June 2016 session."
By the narrowest of margins, the Senate voted 51-50 this afternoon to begin debate on the House's legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare. Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins defected from the GOP, but Vice President Pence broke a tie. Sen. John McCain returned from brain surgery to cast his vote.