"Whole lot more than 'misconduct,' Dennis Hastert," tweets Sarah Weinman at Publishers Lunch, sharing the Chicago Tribune's exposé on accusations the former Speaker of the House sexually abused at least 4 individuals. "This may be a cliche, but it feels bizarre I spent so much time covering him without the tiniest inkling of this," admits National Journal's Ben Pershing. Hastert has not been charged with harming anyone, mainly because such charges would be barred by statutes of limitation. But the Republican politician did plead guilty last year to a lesser charge: illegally structuring cash withdrawals to evade bank currency-reporting requirements in order to give hush money to one of the victims. Meanwhile, Joshua Holland at The Investigative Fund at the Nation Institute couldn't help but notice that Hastert was "Instrumental in pushing anti-gay-marriage amends."
Checking in on the Panama Papers, we learn to no one's surprise that the co-founder of Mossack Fonseca is defending the law firm. "#panamapapers law firm says don't expect it to stop setting up shell companies and 'go plant bananas,' explains David Luhnow at the Wall Street Journal. Of course, that doesn't stop the investigation from casting light on a firm founded on secrecy. Mossack Fonseca "is one of many firms stashing trillions that may deprive nations of $200 bill in tax revenues a year," points out Shreeya Sinha at the New York Times. In other major ongoing stories, Belgian police have released a new video seeking the mysterious man in white who escaped after the airport attack. "This video of the alleged 3rd airport bomber walking into Brussels is one of the creepiest things I've seen," confesses WSJ's Gabriele Steinhauser. Meanwhile, a terrorist in America hoping to buy a weapon could look no further than Facebook, where FB groups act as weapons bazaars. "And you thought your Facebook feed was scary," muses NYT's Michael Roston.
A new Washington Post shows Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump leading in Maryland within their respective parties. "Today in Trump collapse (plus #kasichmentum): WaPo-UMd Trump 41 Kasich 31 Cruz 22," summarizes WaPo's Predicted TIME's Ted Cruz CoverDan Eggen, while the Decision Desk HQ's self-proclaimed Mouth of Sauron remarks, "MD polling not always reliable, but [those numbers] in WaPo squares w/a state I understand very well." Even so, GOP donors eager to defeat The Donald appear to be cozying up to Ted Cruz instead. "Learning to Love Ted, a story about overcoming depression," Eddie Scarry with the Washington Examiner calls it. But can America learn to love him? TIME's cover story wonders if the "conservative caterpillar is becoming a general-election butterfly." Hard to tell, given the way the senator was ripped for his "New York values" jab during a Bronx visit. Incidentally, The Onion totally predicted TIME would do that Cruz cover. "Many thanks to our assignment editors at the Onion. What's next?" asks assistant managing editor Sam Jacobs.