The Angle

The Angle: The Unforeseen Edition

Slate’s daily newsletter on John Kelly, Ammon Bundy, and the year’s best TV.

The same coin: John Kelly, President Trump’s departing chief of staff, was supposed to be the “adult in the room” of the administration, reining in the executive’s worst instincts. But really, Kelly mostly agreed with the president’s ideology and was committed to seeing it through. Jamelle Bouie takes stock of Kelly’s tenure.

On the border: An unexpected voice has spoken out against Donald Trump on immigration: Ammon Bundy, the infamous anti-government militia leader. After he expressed sympathy for Central American asylum-seekers and criticized President Trump’s fearmongering, several of Bundy’s extreme followers reacted harshly. Yet in this context, the phenomenon of “Woke Ammon Bundy” isn’t so surprising, Ruth Graham points out.

Meh TV: Critic Willa Paskin was underwhelmed by the output from the small screen this year, finding that the era of Peak TV has settled into a habit where greatness is mere “happy accident.” Still, she found a few shows worth her time, including her favorite, which is an escape from politics but not escapist.

Strange bedfellows: Massachusetts police have a history of punishing citizens who record them doing their jobs. But on Monday, a federal court affirmed the First Amendment right to secretly record law enforcement officials, ruling in favor of the ACLU—and right-wing troll operation Project Veritas? Mark Joseph Stern explains.

For fun: Can you buy dinosaur fossils?

What about, like, science?