News & Politics

Washingtonian Today: Nothing but Respect for MY Russian Agent

Photograph by Evy Mages

About Washingtonian Today

Washingtonian Today is not just another political news roundup. Instead, this daily morning brief provides local context on national news, catches you up on what’s happening at Washingtonian, points you toward super duper awesome things to do around town, and lets you in on some special events going on in-house. Sign up here to receive Washingtonian Today in your inbox every morning.

We Had a Spy on the Inside: Where do I start with Maria Butina, the American University graduate student from Russia who has just admitted to being a foreign agent? A part of me wants to have pride in a fellow DC college graduate. She’s not just any foreign agent who established back channels to the Republican party through the NRA—she’s our Russian agent. And doesn’t that have to count for something? The entire saga of Maria Butina seems like a shaky premise of one of those Netflix shows that sits in the “You’d Be Interested In” queue for perpetuity. Yet is is extremely real, only kind of cool, and very illegal.

Apropos of criminal investigation-based television, what’s the over/under that we’re going to get a highly stylized but shallow FX drama called Individual-1?  

Hi, good morning, and welcome to Friday. I’m Brittany Shepherd, the author of this morning newsletter. How do you do? Feel free to contact me at or find me on Twitter. Sign up for this newsletter here and you’ll always be very legal and very cool.

Last night I had the honor of attending the Politico Playbook party. Thanks to our lovely hosts and the surprisingly cool National Restaurant Association for having us. There was a branded photo booth—and don’t you know I’m a huge sucker for photo booths. Here is proof, ft. my friend Alex, who was a good sport and wore a feather boa for the bit. 

Something you may have missed: It is with a heavy heart I must announce that Ted Cruz has a beard that is kind of hot. Which has me thinking…what even is “hot for DC” anyway? We hear this term a lot. I’ve been trying to piece together this puzzle for awhile now. It can’t just be wardrobe provided by Rent the Runway or JoS. A. Bank, right? I have a theory that I’m not yet ready to share with the world. But please share yours with mine, and maybe we can solve this mystery together.

Tears of a Clown: There are some pretty awesome places to weep around DC. Trust me, I would know. I’m mostly lazy nowadays, so I’ve taken to crying at easy places, like inside my apartment or by my desk. But for the more adventurous sad bois out there, please consult this new list of where to let it out around Washington.

And now for something completely different: (For the context, you just need to see what happened with Kanye West‘s twitter last night.)

Get free advice from a professional food critic! Ann Limpert will chat at 11 AM. Leave a question now to make sure it gets in her queue.

What we have cooking at Washingtonian:

Our pick for things to do around town:

MUSIC You can’t see beloved New Orleans singer Aaron Neville in small venues any more, but you can see his son: Ivan Neville has teamed up with Baltimore singer-songwriter Cris Jacobs in a band called Neville Jacobs, whose debut album was released this fall. Hear this blend of Neville’s funk sound and Jacobs’s soulful songwriting at Gypsy Sally’s. 8:30 PM, $25 (in advance) or $30 (day of show).

Good reads:

Has the pornography industry met its biggest foe in Donald J. Trump? A really interesting read from Steven Nelson.  (Washington Examiner)

Big events from Washingtonian

Every year, Washingtonian hosts several photo contests, and we’re looking to you to help determine which contest we host in 2019. Vote for the photo contest you’d like to participate in.


Staff Writer

Brittany Shepherd covers the societal and cultural scene in political Washington. Before joining Washingtonian as a staff writer in 2018, Brittany was a White House Correspondent for Independent Journal Review. While she has lived in DC for a number of years now, she still yearns for the fresh Long Island bagels of home. Find her on Twitter, often prattling on about Frasier.