The end is near! Sort of!
“Good Wednesday morning! Here's the most read story on the Bloomberg terminal in the past hour, as of 8 am New York time.” Beth Williams Liou refers you to the scoop from Chris Strohm, Greg Farrell and Shannon Pettypiece at Bloomberg, Mueller Ready to Deliver Key Findings in His Trump Probe, Sources Say. “The end is near! But not that near,” as Michelle Fay Cortez says, since he’s expected to issue findings on core aspects of the Russia probe soon after the November midterm elections. The story notes, “That doesn’t necessarily mean Mueller’s findings would be made public if he doesn’t secure unsealed indictments.” Also, “There’s no indication, though, that Mueller is ready to close up shop, even if he does make some findings, according to former federal prosecutors.”
The alibi weakens further
The latest investigative reporting by David D. Kirkpatrick, Malachy Browne, Ben Hubbard and David Botti of The New York Times finds, Suspects in Khashoggi Case Had Ties to Saudi Crown Prince. Tweets Mark Mazzetti, “The Times gathered more information about the suspects using facial recognition software, publicly available records, social media profiles, a database of Saudi cellphone numbers, Saudi news reports, leaked Saudi government documents.” As a result, “The alibi weakens further: The Saudi crown prince denies knowing anything about what happened to the missing journalist, but NYT reporters discovered that some of the team sent to deal with the journalist know the crown prince very well,” tweets Matt Purdy. Bellingcat says this is “A really important piece of open source investigation by the New York Times on the Jamal Khashoggi, showing the rogue assassins theory doesn’t stand up.”
And now, tweets Browne, “More details from WaPo linking suspects in #JamalKhashoggi disappearance to the crown prince. One of them - Alarifi - matches info Times received that he in MBS's security detail.” The Washington Post team of Shane Harris, Erin Cunningham, Aaron C. Davis and Tamer El-Ghobashy report that suspects identified by Turkey are linked to Saudi security services. Tweets Aaron C. Davis, “Saudi Arabia’s ‘rogue killers’ include at least two men identified as working for Crown Prince MBS and one who traveled to the US for every Royal family visit since ‘15. Yet, Trump and Pompeo say they trust the Prince will conduct an honest investigation.”
And “This is really something. ‘(Turkish officials) also noted apparent Saudi attempts to scrub the scene by bringing in cleaning crews and repainting areas of the consulate. ‘People who have nothing to hide,’ one official said, ‘don’t behave like this.’” Anuj Chopra links to the story by Souad Mekhennet and Kareem Fahim at The Post, Turkey releases passport scans of men it says were involved in journalist’s killing.
Jessica Donati and Margherita Stancati of The Wall Street Journal report a similar finding in their coverage as Pompeo Seeks Answers Amid Crisis Over Missing Saudi Journalist. David Gauthier-Villars highlights, “Complicating investigators’s search inside the Saudi consulate: fresh coats of paint, Erdogan says.”
In an exclusive, David Hearst of the Middle East Eye reports that a Turkish source tells MEE, Jamal Khashoggi’s killing took seven minutes. “Horrific details on Khashoggi by @MiddleEastEye, much of which appears to be confirmed by @WSJ report,” tweets Sharon Weinberger. And be warned: As Ruairi Casey notes, “The details in this are grotesque.”
Meanwhile, on the day Pompeo landed in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia Delivers $100 Million Pledged to U.S., report Ben Hubbard, Anjali SinghviSuspects and Anjali Singhvi of The New York Times. “Coincidence?” asks Michael Slackman. “Subtle,” as Mick Krever says.
Speaking of Saudi money, it flows into Silicon Valley—and with it qualms, write Eliot Brown and Greg Bensinger of The Wall Street Journal, who point out, “The kingdom is now the largest single investor for U.S. startups, an unsettling fact for Silicon Valley.”
And lastly, some scoop from Theodoric Meyer at POLITICO: The Washington Post told Ed Rogers, a prominent Republican lobbyist, he’d lose his gig as a contributing opinion writer unless he stopped lobbying for Saudi Arabia.
President Trump gave an Oval Office interview with AP’s Catherine Lucey, Jonathan Lemire and Zeke Miller yesterday and told them that he’s not to blame if Republicans lose the House. Matt Daily highlights this exchange: “Why doesn't Trump believe in climate change? ‘I have a natural instinct for science,’ he tells the AP.” You can read the transcript of AP’s interview with President Trump for the full, unfiltered effect. As Jeff Nesbit explains, “You know that crazy grandpa who everyone ignores at Thanksgiving because he ignores basic science or facts and just spouts conspiracy theory nonsense at one end of the table? He's now our president.”
Also in that interview, Trump criticizes the rush to condemn Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi. Lemire tweets, “More from breaking AP interview: Trump compares rush to condemn Saudi Arabia over journalist’s disappearance to allegations of sexual assault leveled against Justice Brett Kavanaugh: ‘Here we go again with you’re guilty until proven innocent.’”
...or deeply disturbed?
Catherine Lucey highlights another portion of the AP interview: “AP: Sir, as the president of the United States, is it appropriate to call a woman, and even one who is making serious allegations and who you are in litigation against, to call her a horseface? Trump: You know what? You can take it any way you want.”
So, it’s your fault if you think horseface is an insult? We guess? For more on those “take it any way you want” comments, turn to Michael Shear and Eileen Sullivan of The New York Times and their piece, ‘Horseface,’ ‘Lowlife,’ ‘Fat, Ugly’: How the President Demeans Women. Kara Swisher notes, “At this point, given how often this happens, you truly have to wonder what truly twisted thing happened in his upbringing to make him so deeply disturbed.” And Sarah Howlett wonders, “How are there still humans who think it's swell that this petulant child is president?”
Here’s the real story
“You think you know Donald Trump’s business model? You don’t. Here’s the real story from @hvogell@AndreaWNYC @Meg_Cramer & @peterelkind.” Jesse Eisinger directs you to Pump and Trump, by ProPublica’s Heather Vogell and Peter Elkind and WNYC’s Andrea Bernstein and Meg Cramer. Yes, “We already know that Trump is a con man and a fraud. But here's yet another story,” tweets Alex Wild. As Richard Tofel says, “The @nytimes exploded the myth of Trump as self-made. Now, @ProPublica and @WNYC demolish the idea that the Trumps’ latter-day business was ‘mere licensing.’ Welcome to the world of Pump and Trump.” The bottom line, tweets ProPublica: “For years, Ivanka Trump and the Trump Organization misrepresented sales at their company’s projects. And they profited.”
I just...have so many feelings
How about a strange trip back to the late 1980s? Here’s the wild story of deathbed confessions, Gary Hart’s Presidential Bid and the Possible Setup That Ended It, by James Fallows of The Atlantic. As Jeremy C. Owens says, “This is the most mind-blowing story I have seen today, and I want to know EXACTLY how it was done, if it was.” Tweets Phil Latzman, “A new look at the Gary Hart ‘affair’ 31 years later. A long read, but worth it from @TheAtlantic.” Adds Julie Bogen, “I keep rereading @JamesFallows' latest. If Atwater's confession is true, and we think about the ripple effect of what a Hart presidency would have meant, I just...have so many feelings.” Either way, “Lee Atwater’s long shadow lengthens,” tweets Eva Moore.
This is 2018
Back to present-day elections, Mark Niesse of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Black senior citizens were ordered off a Georgia bus taking them to vote (104,000+ shares). Yes, “This is 2018,” notes Holly Beilin. And Adele Stan notices, “It's almost as if the only way the GOP thinks it can win in Georgia is by cheating.”
Thanks for the beautiful, wooden horse
So, it turns out that Facebook could in fact use data collected from its Portal in-home video device to target you with ads, according to what they’ve now told Kurt Wagner of Recode. As Kevin Roose puts it: “Correction: those big holes in the ground were not purely decorative, the oil company does, in fact, plan to collect and sell oil.” Or M.G. Sigler’s version: “Thank you for this beautiful, wooden horse, Facebook! We shall display it prominently in our home!” “Ah yes this will reassure people,” says Alex Heath. But really, “LOL who ever would have imagined this could happen???” asks Brett Molina. As Dieter Bohn says, “More like Facebook CHORTLE AMIRITE AMIRITE?”
How sports journalism is done
Jack Pitt-Brooke of The Independent writes about the harsh reality that, when England play overseas, it is always the voice of the angry, white, male racist that shouts loudest, and Stan Collymore says, “This is how sports journalism is done, while the story is still fresh, unafraid to tell the truth, correct in its claims. Exceptional @JackPittBrooke, this is how change happens.” Adds Lanre Bakare. “This @JackPittBrooke piece on England's European jaunts and fan behaviour nails it.”
Here in the U.S., Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that, according to sources, the Red Sox were warned by Indians about Astros attempting to steal signs and information. He writes, “A photograph obtained by Yahoo Sports showed a man named Kyle McLaughlin aiming a cell phone into Cleveland’s dugout during the Indians’ 11-3 loss that ended their season. McLaughlin was the same man caught taking pictures near the Red Sox’s dugout during Game 1 of the AL Championship Series, which was first reported by the Metro Times.” Tweets Kate Feldman, “The photo makes this so perfect.”
The only thing you really care about today: Recreational marijuana is now legal in Canada (81,000+ shares). Darran Simon and Nicole Chavez at CNN have all the details about what you need to know. Best headline, courtesy of German Lopez at Vox, Toronto police: marijuana is now legal in Canada, so stop calling 911 about it.
In a new column for The Guardian, Aditya Chakrabortty writes that Britain fell for a neoliberal con trick – even the IMF says so (18,000+ shares). But Bibi van der Zee advises, “Possibly don't read this if your blood pressure is already a bit high.”
Stephanie Peatling links to the “EXCLUSIVE: Environment Minister Melissa Price has been accused of offending a key Pacific leader by declaring the region was ‘always’ seeking cash from Australia, sparking a dispute over her remarks at a Canberra restaurant on Tuesday night.” David Crowe of the Sydney Morning Herald has that story, ‘For the Pacific it's always about cash’: Environment Minister in diplomatic incident over climate change. Kieran Pender says, “If true, this is outrageous and very sad. Indicative of Australia's attitude towards our Pacific neighbours.” And it seems to be true. On Twitter, Crowe notes, “UPDATED: I've just spoken to someone who witnessed the exchange with Melissa Price and he says it is ‘100 per cent accurate’ that she made this remark: ‘It's always about the cash.’”
It’s too early for emotions
Finally, as if things weren’t bad enough, the Original Big Bird, Caroll Spinney, Leaves ‘Sesame Street’ After Nearly 50 Years (34,000+ shares). Dave Itzkoff of The New York Times has that story, and as Matt Ford says, “Folks can’t publish stuff like this on a weekday morning, it’s too early for emotions.” Erik Adams agrees: “Predictably, this reduced me to a puddly mess.” And Jessica Goldstein wants to know, “how come all the men who should retire keep trying to stage comebacks & the ones we wish would stay forever are ready to retire.”