Robert Mueller

Re: Barr’s letter on the Mueller Report

Attorney General William Barr’s letter covering the principal conclusions of the Mueller Report is out. Read it here.

A few things to note:

  • This is not the actual “Mueller Report.” This is only Barr’s letter about it. Some news sources are announcing this news like it is the actual report. It is not.
  • According to Barr, Mueller finds that there was no Trump-Russia conspiracy. Please remember that we are dealing in the law right now, and the law is a very specific animal, especially in regards to crimes like the one being investigated. If it is true that Mueller found there was no evidence of conspiracy – and remember this is Barr saying this, and Barr is a guy Trump put in place to keep his fat out of the fire – it may be that Mueller just couldn’t prove conspiracy by legal standards.
  • Mueller did find that there was proof of Russia attempting to diddle the 2016 election, and prosecuted a whole bunch of people over that.
  • Mueller was also investigating whether Trump committed obstruction of justice, and to that point, Mueller did not present a conclusion. He instead presented his evidence and left it to the Attorney General, Barr, to come to a conclusion based on that evidence. Mueller specifically says, according to Barr, “While this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”

It’s also important to note that this is not over yet.

We pinned a lot of hopes on the Mueller investigation, but that was never going to be a silver bullet.

No one is coming to save us. We have to save ourselves. Vote in 2020.

A Few Things to Read

  1. Splinter News has a quick primer on the Mueller investigation, handy for folks who haven’t been paying complete attention to it. Read it.
  2. FiveThirtyEight has a few initial thoughts on Barr’s letter. Read.
  3. Vox has some questions that Barr’s letter didn’t answer. Read them.
  4. Lawfare has thoughts on the letter, too. Check them out here.
  5. And finally, Ken White, AKA @Popehat, AKA the Internet’s lawyer friend, has a few thoughts to offer on the letter. Read them here in the Atlantic.

Image: Robert Mueller, 2012. (Source and licensing.)

5 Things To Read Today

5TtRT: SCotUS, Kellyanne Conway, Facebook, & New Zealand

We spent most of our weekend watching Queer Eye, which, if you haven’t heard, got rebooted with a new Fab Five on Netflix a year or so ago. If you need something to watch, I definitely recommend it. It’s relentlessly positive and uplifting. Also, it’ll make you want to take care of your skin, clean out your closets, and go shopping.

5 Things to Read Today

  1. Politico: 2020 Dems warm to expanding Supreme Court – This needs to happen. We need to take the SCotUS card out of the “politics wars” deck. And not just in the Supreme Court, either, but in all courts. Courts should always be as unbiased and non-partisan as possible.
  2. CNN: Kellyanne Conway’s husband is trying to tell the public Trump is mentally ill. She doesn’t agree – This thing with Kellyanne Conway and her husband has to be some kind of performance art or schtick or something, right?
  3. AP: Facebook says service hindered by lack of local news – Facebook destroys the news ecosystem, then complains that it can’t find enough news to put on its platform. 🙄
  4. NPR: New Zealand Prime Minister Promises Tighter Gun Laws – New Zealand has its first mass shooting in like 30 years and the next its all, “These guns gotta go.” Wish we could manage the same thing.
  5. Vox: The New Zealand shooter wrote a manifesto. An extremism expert explains what it means. – “It’s definitely clearly signaling that the author is a white supremacist, and anti-immigration and anti-Muslim. We can take that away and draw some insight from it. But when you get down to the particulars, there are a lot of statements in there mainly to try get news coverage, to get people to say dumb things on TV, or to repeat memes or jokes that white supremacists and white nationalists use online to get people to search for them and try to bring attention to that cause.”
5 Things To Read Today

5TtRT: Radicalization

If you only read one of these articles today, you need to make it this one: “This Is How We Radicalized The World.”

Yes, yes, I know, it’s “on BuzzFeed,” they just do stupid listicles.

Stop. It’s on BuzzFeed News. BuzzFeed’s news product is separate from the listicles and quizzes. It’s a legit news organization doing some extremely good reporting. And you need to read the article linked above, this one, right now.

Chances are, by now, your country has some, if not all, of the following. First off, you probably have some kind of local internet troll problem, like the MAGAsphere in the US, the Netto-uyoku in Japan, Fujitrolls in Peru, or AK-trolls in Turkey. Your trolls will probably have been radicalized online via some kind of community for young men like Gamergate, Jeuxvideo.com (“videogames.com”) in France, ForoCoches (“Cars Forum”) in Spain, Ilbe Storehouse in South Korea, 2chan in Japan, or banter Facebook pages in the UK.


BuzzFeed News, “This Is How We Radicalized The World”

Here’s the other four things you should read today.

Look, I know this shit is exhausting. The problems are piling up faster than we can deal with them. It seems like we’re never going to make a dent in this mess.

But eyes on the prize, people. We are making a dent. We are succeeding at this. We were never going to fix this quickly. It’s going to take years. But it can be done. It will be done.

“The arc of history is long,” etc. We’re going to win this. We just have to persevere.

5 Things To Read Today

5TtRT: Cleaning Out the Dump File

Happy Friday! My dump file is full of links to stories. Here’s five good ones. Particularly number 5, from Wired. Scientists encoded a computer virus in a strand of DNA and the gene sequencer that read the DNA picked up the virus. That’s amazing.

  1. ProPublica: I’m a Journalist. Apparently, I’m Also One of America’s “Top Doctors.”
  2. SPLC: New hate map helps users explore landscape of hate
  3. The Verge: The secret lives of Facebook moderators in America
  4. Politico: ‘Sustained and ongoing’ disinformation assault targets Dem presidential candidates
  5. Wired: Biohackers Encoded Malware in a Strand of DNA
5 Things To Read Today

5TtRT: Michael Cohen Edition

I think the biggest take-away from Micheal Cohen’s testimony yesterday is that most of Congress is not great at hearings and could do with hiring some experts to handle that stuff for them.

It’s notable that the best questioning sessions came from folks who were 1. Democrats, and 2. had a prosecution background. (With the exception of Ocasio-Cortez, that gal apparently just does her homework.)

These two points underline a problem with hearings like this. The first problem is that the opposition party is generally just at the hearing to score points or obfuscate the truth. The second problem is that congresspeople Mostly don’t know how to do this job.

It seems like you could go a long way towards solving both problems by having involved congresspeople represented by prosecutors and hearings rules that center discovering the truth.

  1. Politico: Michael Cohen’s most fiery accusations against Trump
  2. Vox: Why Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Michael Cohen questioning mattered
  3. Washington Post: 5 key takeaways from the Michael Cohen hearing
  4. Lawfare: The Cohen of Silence Breaks: What to Make of Wednesday’s Testimony
  5. TPM EdBlog: Looking at the Cohen Testimony Big Picture
Donald Trump, by Gage Skidmore

5TtRT: Trump/Mueller Edition

I’m not sure what to expect from a “Mueller report,” really. I could see it being a damning indictment outlining all of Trump’s many crimes, or a report that points fingers and provides evidence against tons of people in Trump’s circle, but not Trump himself. I mention that second one because there’s an off chance that maybe Trump managed to insulate himself well enough from his crimes that they can’t nail him on much of anything.

I don’t know how much of a chance there is that the second one happens. Trump and his cronies are not smart guys. Trump’s own stupidity and arrogance may have gotten in the way of any attempts to insulate him.

Anyway, here’s a few things to read this morning.

Photo credit: Donald Trump, by Gage Skidmore. (Source and licensing.)

5 Things To Read Today

5TtRT: McConnell & Chao, Bernie Sanders, the ‘national emergency,’ climate change, & ‘The Newsroom’

So Bernie Sanders threw his hat in the ring, to no one’s surprise, and, I mean… Okay, let’s be honest here. I’m voting the Whomever Isn’t Trump 2020 ticket almost irregardless of who the Democrats run. They could run a literal turnip, and that’s probably who I’m voting for.

I mean, at least a literal turnip is not in a criminal conspiracy with Russia, right? That seems highly unlikely.

But am I excited for another Bernie Sanders run? Not really. I was done with Sanders when I realized what a pile of rabidly awful fanatics his fanboys were. No one who inspires that kind of behavior is going to be at the top of my Happy Favorites List.

Anyway…

  1. Politico: Emails reveal coordination between Chao, McConnell offices
  2. NBC News: Bernie Sanders enters 2020 presidential race: ‘Complete the revolution’
  3. NPR: Poll: 6-In-10 Disapprove Of Trump’s Declaration Of A National Emergency
  4. National Centers for Environmental Information: January 2019 was third warmest on record for the globe
  5. AV Club: The Newsroom might come back to finally fix journalism once and for all