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).
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Former FBI Director Jim Comey won't be testifying before Jason Chaffetz's House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Wednesday as originally planned. Chaffetz, the committee chairman, "announced Monday that Comey wants to speak with Robert Mueller, the former FBI director now serving as a special counsel overseeing the agency's investigation into the Trump campaign's ties to Russia during the 2016 campaign, before testifying publicly."