Russia, Trump and the 2016 election
We start today with a pair of pieces delving into the 2016 election and Russian interference. First up, “If you’re interested in the Trump-Russia saga but find it overwhelming and hard to follow, I hope this story from me and @MarkMazzettiNYT today (special section in print) might help explain the motive, the means and the impact of Russia’s historic attack.” Scott Shane links to his new piece with Mark Mazzetti of The New York Times, The Plot to Subvert an Election: Unraveling the Russia Story So Far, which takes a look at what we know so far and what it means. Nina Bernstein calls it “The riveting & clarifying narrative that we’ve been needing.”
At The Washington Post, you can find an excerpt from Greg Miller’s new book, “The Apprentice”: At CIA’s ‘Russia House,’ growing alarm about 2016 election interference. Tweets Jacob Heilbrunn, “I used to sit across the desk from @gregpmiller when we worked @LosAngelesTimes. He was plugged in then and now he has the goods again.” Aaron Mehta says, “It won't get the attention Woodward's book did, but Miller's Trump/NatSec book might contain even more fascinating stuff.” And Paul Sonne adds, “In the din of today's Washington, it's easy to lose sight of the broader story. @gregpmiller has it, with the first draft of history on Russia, Trump and the 2016 election.”
The truest smoking gun
From that saga to the Kavanaugh confirmation saga. At NBC News, Ken Dilanian, Brandy Zadrozny and Ben Popken have the details on the Facebook post by Cristina King Miranda, a former schoolmate of Kavanaugh accuser Christine Blasey Ford, who says she recalls hearing of alleged Kavanaugh incident (59,000+ shares). They write, “King Miranda has since taken down her Facebook post, which NBC News verified as having appeared on her account. She said on Twitter that she deleted it ‘because it served its purpose and I am now dealing with a slew of requests for interviews … Organizing how I want to proceed. Was not ready for that, not sure I am interested in pursuing. Thanks for reading.’”
King Miranda did do an interview with NPR’s Nina Totenberg, telling her there was a “buzz” going around the weekend of the party about an incident involving students from her school and Kavanaugh’s, but “[t]hat it happened or not, I have no idea. I can’t say that it did or didn’t.”
If that’s not muddled enough, well, there are always the rumors and disinformation campaigns. Kevin Roose of The New York Times did some fact-checking for his piece, Debunking 5 Viral Rumors About Christine Blasey Ford, Kavanaugh’s Accuser. As he notes, “There is an incredible amount of viral disinformation about Christine Blasey Ford floating around. Can't debunk it all, but here’s a starting attempt.”
Robert Costa’s latest at The Washington Post finds Republicans push to confirm Kavanaugh amid fears it will come at a political cost. He reveals that several top GOP lawmakers have told colleagues they hope Ford won’t show up for the hearing, even as they encourage her to do so.
Meanwhile, “This is unfortunately a story I was fully prepared to see,” says Joe Patrice. At HuffPost, Emily Friedlander Peck has learned that Brett Kavanaugh Liked Female Clerks Who Looked A ‘Certain Way,’ Yale Student Was Told. She tweets, “ICYMI: read our story from last night about Yale law professors cautioning women at the school that Judge Kavanaugh prefers female clerks to have a ‘certain look.’” But Tom Scocca thinks, “The truest smoking gun here is yet another reminder that absolutely everyone in this legal world knew Kavanaugh’s mentor and friend Alex Kozniski was a sex-crazed pig, yet Kavanaugh claimed under oath he had no inkling of that fact.”
An eternal American story
As far as “buzz” going around about incidents that did or didn’t happen in school, Elizabeth S. Bruenig points out, “Every town, every high school has some urban legend about some girl to whom something terrible may have happened, or may not have, depending on who you believe. Over the last three years, I investigated my city's legend. This is what I found.” She links to her new piece for The Washington Post, She reported her rape. Her hometown turned against her. Can justice ever be served? (30,000+ shares), about which Stephanie Russell-Kraft tweets, “Just finished this beautifully written, heartbreaking piece by @ebruenig, about a town that turned on a young woman after she was raped. ‘I hope that it troubles you, because the moral conscience at ease accomplishes nothing,’ she writes.” Dan Beucke says, “This digs deep into my memory and unearths stories from my youth in Ohio, my young adulthood in Southern California, my fatherhood in New York. It is an eternal American story.” Adds Sopan Deb, “I am -- no understatement -- absolutely blown away by @ebruenig's piece here. Every word is worth a read.”
Trump in his own words
Speaking of words, in case you missed it, John Solomon and Buck Sexton interviewed President Trump for Hill.TV, and you can check out the transcript here. Ian Swanson sets it up for you: “Here's Trump in his own words with @BuckSexton and @jsolomonReports from Hill.TV's interview. 5,000 words of stream-of-conscious entertainment.” Alex Howard points out, “This interview contained an extraordinary admission: the @POTUS has not read the classified documents that he directed @ODNIGov to declassify on Monday.” Why worry, though, when the idea came from people like “[t]he great Lou Dobbs, the great Sean Hannity, the wonderful great Jeanie Pirro”? And then there’s this highlight, from Philip Rucker: “President Trump, who has spent a lifetime spreading and in some cases concocting conspiracy theories, tells the Hill that he doesn't like to use the term ‘deep state’ because ‘I’m really not a conspiratorial person.’”
The Fall of Men continues
Raina Delisle links to the news that Ian Buruma Is Out as New York Review of Books Editor Amid Uproar Over #MeToo Essay. Cara Buckley has the details, such that they are, at The New York Times, writing, “The magazine did not say whether Mr. Buruma, 66, had resigned or been fired, and he did not respond to a phone call and email seeking comment. But Mr. Buruma told a Dutch magazine that he had felt compelled to resign.” Lisa Lagace offers, “Good riddance.”
The celebrity puff piece
Kyle Buchanan “Nodded vigorously while reading this piece by @joncaramanica,” he tweets. That’s R.I.P. the Celebrity Profile, by Jon Caramanica of The New York Times. Caryn Ganz says, “So many artists think they don't *need* to do big interviews anymore — to take the challenge, talk about their music, and risk not loving what winds up on the page. @joncaramanica argues they're very wrong.” Still, Nastia Voynovskaya notes, “I definitely agree with Caramanica that celeb-approved puff pieces are a disservice to readers and culture in general, but there’s also a reason why people like Beyoncé might want to bypass traditional media and tell their own stories.”
Well, here’s one celebrity who isn’t exactly censoring himself. Geoff Edgers met with Chevy Chase six times over the last year to profile him for The Washington Post, and he found that Chevy Chase can’t change. Sopan Deb says, “I cannot recommend this profile of a bitter, angry Chevy Chase by @geoffedgers enough.” Kevin Coffey calls it “A wonderfully written profile about Chevy Chase. Whatever you think of him, read it.” Or as Daniel Bates puts it, “Jesus Christ this profile of Chevy Chase is painful, essential and damning.”
The big picture
“What a wild story: a prisoner serving 39 years to life started making drawings of golf courses. The drawings made their way to Golf Digest, which wrote about him, then realized his conviction was sketchy, then investigated, and now he's free.” Tom Gara links to the new piece by Max Adler at Golf Digest, who explains how golf illustrations sustained Valentino Dixon while he was in prison for murder, a charge he was declared innocent of in court on Wednesday after 27 years in jail. Kelly Malone adds, “I really like this quote from a lawyer in the case — ‘It’s embarrassing for the legal system that for a long time the best presentation of the investigation was from a golf magazine.’”
A nine-month investigation by NJ.com Projects and Investigations has found that dogs are dying after groomings at PetSmart, and families are left wondering why. Tweets Sophie Nieto-Munoz, of her piece with Alex Napoliello, “@alexnapoNJ & I worked on this for months after reports of two dogs dying at a Flemington, NJ PetSmart. We started to wonder, is this happening more than the public knows? Why is it happening? And is anyone keeping track?”
In a new piece for HuffPost’s Highline, Michael Hobbes tells us, Everything You Know About Obesity Is Wrong. On Twitter, Hobbes reveals, “This is an issue I've been obsessed with since I was a kid and I finally got to write a big long feature about it.” Maya Dusenbery thinks, “This is such a well-done and important piece from @RottenInDenmark. Everyone—but especially medical professionals, public health folks, people who care about the food system, and thin people—should read it.” Adds Scott Bixby, “This is, as everyone else on your timeline has probably already said, really good!”
New York Times journalists and photographers visited Punta Santiago in Puerto Rico to see how things are faring a year after Hurricane Maria. The answer: Not great. Frances Robles reports, FEMA Set Aside Billions to Repair Homes in Puerto Rico. Many Are Still in Ruins.
In an exclusive for Yahoo News, Caitlin Dickson found out that with more immigrant children in detention, HHS cuts funds for other programs—like cancer research (35,000+ shares). Tweets Matt Fuller, “I’m of the opinion that how you spend your money is a reflection of your values. Well, the Trump administration is cutting money from a refugee support program, Head Start, an HIV/AIDS program, and cancer research to pay for jailing immigrant children.”
How do you like them apples?
According to Jaclyn Reiss, “This is likely the best Boston Globe video you will watch all year.” As Travis Andersen of The Boston Globe reports, Red Sox fans find division title banner in Somerville street, and “Louie from #Malden has a proposition for the #RedSox .... if they want that banner.” Patrick Garvin puts it this way: “Red Sox division title banner falls off truck, is found by two dudes with the best Boston accents you'll hear today, or maybe ever, and those guys want to barter a trade with the Red Sox in a glorious ‘more Boston than Boston’ story.” “All that’s missing is Ben Affleck as Chucky, yelling ‘RETAINER!’” notes Chad Finn.
- In the UK, Emily Dugan of BuzzFeed News reports, A Zimbabwean Father Was Arrested And Pinned To The Ground Naked In His Home By Immigration Officers Acting On A False Tip-Off. Tapiwa Matukutire was living in the UK legally with his British wife and child.
- Dion Nissenbaum of The Wall Street Journal reports that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo backed continued U.S. military support for Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen over the objections of staff members after being warned that a cutoff could jeopardize $2 billion in weapons sales to America’s Gulf allies. That’s according to a classified memo and people familiar with the decision.
- Welp, looks like video killed the podcast star, or as Chris Chafin puts it, “in a refreshing change of pace, buzzfeed cuts AUDIO to pivot to video.” Ben Mullin has that scoop at The Wall Street Journal, BuzzFeed News Cuts Podcasting Team to Focus on Video. Yes, this is “Pivoting to video, part 11,583,” tweets Matt Gurney.
- Megan Smolenyak notices a “Bit of a pattern here.” As POLITICO’s Marc Caputo reports, a new racial controversy batters Ron DeSantis, and it’s the fifth race-related issue concerning the Florida candidate, his gubernatorial campaign or one of its supporters.
- The Man Booker Prize has announced the 2018 shortlist, and at 27, Daisy Johnson is the youngest author ever to make the shortlist, for her debut, “Everything Under.”