For your scoops of the day, we kick things off with the latest from Michael Schmidt and Maggie Haberman of The New York Times, Trump Spoke to Witnesses About Matters They Discussed With Special Counsel (57,000+ shares). Tweets Ari Melber, “One theme is here Mueller finds out about just about everything eventually…” highlighting this, from the piece: “But witnesses and lawyers who learned about the conversations viewed them as potentially a problem and shared them with Mr. Mueller.”
On to some other things Mueller knows: In their new piece, Mueller gathers evidence that 2016 Seychelles meeting was effort to establish back channel to Kremlin (50,000+ shares), Sari Horwitz and Devlin Barrett of The Washington Post have more on that secret Seychelles meeting, and Matthew Yglesias notices that “There sure seem to have been a lot of back-channel communications with Russia from a group of people who totally weren’t collaborating with the Russians.” Adds Paul Szoldra, “How I know Erik Prince is lying: he’s a former Navy SEAL, and he expects us to believe it takes him 30 minutes to down a beer.”
An odd coincidence
Anyway, “Erik Prince will host a fundraiser for Rep. Dana Rohrabacher this month, because of course,” tweets CNN’s Rebecca Berg, who links to her reporting, Amid renewed scrutiny, Erik Prince to host fundraiser for Russia-friendly congressman. To be fair, though, “Who among us has not forgotten planning a meeting in the Seychelles with a Russian fund manager before helping a Russian stooge run for Congress?” asks Jennifer Rubin.
In What happened in Moscow: The inside story of how Trump’s obsession with Putin began, Mother Jones excerpts the new book by David Corn and Michael Isikoff, Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin’s War on America and the Election of Donald Trump. Christopher Orr highlights this: “So, in 2013, in preparation for his Miss Universe event in Moscow, Trump went with Rob Goldstone and Emin Agalarov to a Las Vegas nightclub famous for its simulated golden-showers sex shows. That's at the very least an odd coincidence.”
But her emails!
And then there’s “Hope Hicks Hacked - tells House Intel investigators she can no longer access two accounts, one of which was hacked. Bad with technology, she says,” tweets Jonathan Allen, referring to his report with Mike Memoli and Ken Dilanian of NBC News, Hope Hicks told House Intelligence Committee she was hacked (14,000+ shares). “If I’m reading this right, it says Hope Hicks used a personal email account?” tweets Brian Beutler. Marcy Wheeler adds, “I wonder if Hope explained she had been hacked just before or after she denied telling Mark Corallo that the emails relating to the June 9 meeting would never become public?”
They rly rly rly don’t want her to talk
In the ongoing Stormy saga, Peter Baker and Jim Rutenberg of The New York Times have learned that Trump’s Lawyer Obtained Restraining Order to Silence Porn Star (28,000+ shares). Keith Boykin wonders, “If the Stormy Daniels story is just fake news, why did Trump secretly go to court last week to get a restraining order to silence her?” Eve Peyser agrees: “The fact that they rly rly rly don’t want her to talk is so sus.”
Meanwhile, Stormy Daniels’ lawyer slams secret order, ‘threats’ by Trump's lawyer (17,000+ shares), reports Sarah Fitzpatrick of NBC News. Again, it seems a little odd: “One question... if NOTHING happened why have a non-disclosure agreement and now a gag order?” asks Mark Curtis.
And here’s an “Entertaining read from @WPJohnWagner @mikedebonis @edatpost on Hill Rs trying to feign ignorance on the latest in Stormy saga,” tweets Seung Min Kim. That’s Republicans flee the storm over Stormy Daniels and President Trump, by John Wagner, Ed O’Keefe and Mike DeBonis of The Washington Post. “Don't you just love the way Holier-than-Thou GOP leaders pretend they're not being slimed in Trump's sewer,” tweets Ron Rosenbaum.
The swamps of Trump Town
In their new piece, Michael Biesecker, Juliet Linderman and Richard Lardner at AP News ask, What swamp? Lobbyists get ethics waivers to work for Trump. Tweets AP Politics, “Trump promised to drain the swamp. But he and his appointees have stocked federal agencies with ex-lobbyists and corporate lawyers who regulate the very industries they worked for.” In other words, “The Swamp, only swampier,” as Stephen Hayes puts it.
This seems fine: “Plead no contest to assaulting your wife; keep your security clearance. Must-read by @eliseviebeck,” tweets Mike DeBonis. That story, by Elise Viebeck of The Washington Post, DHS official jailed over domestic violence case says he handles ‘high volume’ of classified information. Frida Ghitis elaborates: “He was arrested and charged with felony strangulation of his wife. He now handles high volume of classified information in Trump’s Department of Homeland Security.” Molly Weasley calls “Keeping guy convicted of #DomesticViolence par for the course in Trumpworld.”
On that note, “New and Yuge: Tracking 2,500 Trump appointees (and counting) across the government. Welcome to Trump Town,” tweets Scott Klein. That’s the new project put together by ProPublica, Trump Town. Al Shaw explains that the new news app is “Fully searchable by agency, appointee name, former employer. Find ethics waivers, special government employees, deregulatory task force members, and more.”
Shameless exercise in corporate propaganda
CNN’s Brian Stelter reports that Sinclair's new media-bashing promos rankle local anchors. He tweets, “Scoop: Sinclair has a new promo campaign. Local anchors are required to read this script. It sounds a lot like pro-Trump propaganda,” adding, “Sinclair staffers shared these documents with CNN because they believe the promos are inappropriate -- yet another corporate infringement on local journalism…” Rob Pegoraro finds it “Hard to imagine a more shameless exercise in corporate propaganda than making your local TV stations all run the same script denouncing ‘fake news’ and then not let them answer viewer responses. Then again, this is Sinclair.” “Meanwhile, that Sinclair/Tribune merger that'll put it in like 70% of the country is still pending,” Kate Cox points out.
Missed it by $99 billion
The scoop from Lingling Wei at The Wall Street Journal, Trump Tweet on China Trade Understates U.S. Demand, Officials Say. She explains, “U.S. asked China for a plan to reduce bilateral trade deficit by $100 billion -- Trump's tweet Wednesday was off by $99 billion.” Erick Erickson’s take: “I don’t think he understands how a trade deficit works.”
Speaking of China, “Kushner has steered away from China bc of controversies involving him,” notes Sharon LaFraniere. And so, Kushner Meets With Mexican President, Underscoring Shift in U.S. Diplomacy. That story is by Azam Ahmed and Nicholas Casey of The New York Times. This makes sense: “Jared Kushner met today with Mexico's president and foreign minister, but did not invite the American ambassador to the meetings, who has over 30 years of experience in the region,” tweets JM Rieger. “Again, this is the fella whose idea of prep work is to do a search on Amazon,” tweets Marcy Wheeler.
A terrifying, haunting story
“This piece is devastating but important: How does one man abuse so many girls over such a long period of time without getting caught? He has help.” Meredith Bennett-Smith links to the new investigation by Tim Evans, Joe Guillen, Gina Kaufman, Marisa Kwiatkowski, Matt Mencarini and Mark Alesia of the Indianapolis Star, Larry Nassar: The making of a monster who abused gymnasts for decades. Andrew Clark clarifies: “Seems that some people are missing the point of our story about Larry Nassar this morning. People did not actively help him abuse children. He manipulated them to the point that they didn't realize they were enabling him. It's a terrifying, haunting story.”
This is quite a list. “Sylvia Plath, Charlotte Brontë and Ida B. Wells are just some of the remarkable people who didn't get obituaries in The New York Times. Amy Padnani and Jessica Bennett are leading an effort at @nytimes to tell the stories of those who were overlooked.” Anne-Sophie Bolon links to Women We Overlooked in 167 Years of New York Times Obituaries, by Amisha Padnani and Jessica Bennett of The New York Times.
Read one of those obits here: Ida B. Wells, Who Took on Racism in the Deep South With Powerful Reporting on Lynchings, by Caitlin Dickerson.
While Alexi McCammond reveals Big warning signs for Senate Democrats from Axios’s latest polls, Kamala Harris keeps 'em guessing in a new profile by POLITICO’s Burgess Everett and Elana Schor. Tweets Edward-Isaac Dovere, “A lot of people talk about @KamalaHarris, but @burgessev & @eschor actually talked *to* her and people who work with her in the Senate to go deep.” Schor says, “Harris has become a liberal rising star even though she’s more at home working with Senate GOP colleagues than bashing them. (Trump is a different story.)”
And finally today, “A little diversion from the political for a personal indulgence. This story made me think of my former colleague @RobynnTysver. They found her,” tweets Aaron Sanderford. Marwa Eltagouri of The Washington Post has the story: Bones discovered on a Pacific island belong to Amelia Earhart, a new forensic analysis claims (12,000+ shares).