If you tuned into one of the four major networks last night for a specific nine minutes, you would have heard Trump Appeal to the Nation for a Wall: ‘This Is a Choice Between Right and Wrong.’ But as Peter Baker of The New York Times reports, “privately, Mr. Trump dismissed his own new strategy as pointless. In an off-the-record lunch with television anchors hours before the address, he made clear in blunt terms that he was not inclined to give the speech or go to Texas, but was talked into it by advisers.” Baker also notes that five Republican Senators have now come out in favor of reopening the government.
Washington Post fact checkers Salvador Rizzo, Glenn Kessler and Meg Kelly got a head start yesterday with a preemptive fact check, Your fact-checking cheat sheet for Trump’s immigration address (28,000+ shares).
The latest AP fact check from Calvin Woodward and Colleen Long finds Trump oversells wall as a solution to drugs. Tweets Steve Peoples, “Do yourself a favor and read this #APFactCheck on Trump's speech and the Dem response. Important accountability journalism that offers key context on the president's claims about drugs, violence and the impact of illegal immigration.” (AP also made a “both sides” argument related to tango-dancing that got a lot of attention on Twitter.)
In case you were wondering, most imported heroin comes through legal points of entry, notes The Post’s Meg Kelly.
Beyond fact-checks and stat-picks and debunk
For some more “Actual facts about the border,” Matthew Yglesias directs you to Dara Lind’s piece for Vox, Trump immigration speech: what’s actually happening at the border, explained. Tweets Lind, “So today I tried to step back and think: beyond Trump’s speech — beyond fact-checks and stat-picks and debunks — what do I really, really want you to know about the US/Mexico border? The result is something I hope is worth reading, now or in future.” Nicholas Riccardi says, “This @DLind piece is really good. Among its smart points -- Rs just lost 2 House seats on the border during an election that Trump said was about border security.” In fact, Lind notes that, according to Pew Research, "People who lived less than 350 miles from the border were the least likely to support Trump’s wall."
And on that note, Simon Romero, Manny Fernandez and Azam Ahmed of The New York Times visited four border states and Mexico to learn what the people closest to the border “crisis” think about all of this. What they found: On the Border, Little Enthusiasm for a Wall: ‘We Have Other Problems That Need Fixing’ (48,000+ shares). Tweets Kim Murphy, “Trump has made the case that the nation is in an immigration crisis, but a survey of those living along the border found few who shared the president’s sense of alarm. ‘There is no border problem, except for ones we are causing,’ said one Arizona rancher.”
This a pretty big deal, I think
Remember the Russia investigation? Because that’s still going on, too. Before we get into all that, the news this morning, reported by Pierre Thomas, Jonathan Karl, John Santucci and Mike Levine of ABC News is that Rosenstein is expected to depart DOJ in coming weeks once new attorney general confirmed. “Here goes Rod,” as Blake Hounshell tweets.
As for the probe he’s been overseeing, there are some new developments. First, the Supreme Court ruled against the mystery corporation from ‘Country A’ that’s been fighting a subpoena in Mueller investigation, as Robert Barnes, Devlin Barrett and Carol Leonnig of The Washington Post report. We still don’t have a whole lot in the way of details, but Erin Banco tweets, “I find the last graph of this super interesting. ‘whatever the company’s identity, it is not one that has a significant business presence in the US, because foreign firms operating in America typically comply with demands from U.S. authorities.’” Regardless, Laurence Tribe offers “Four cheers (three aren’t enough) for SCOTUS’s rejection of secret law!”
Benjamin Weiser of The New York Times reports, Veselnitskaya, Russian in Trump Tower Meeting, Is Charged in Case That Shows Kremlin Ties (48,000+ shares), and “This is a pretty big deal, I think,” says Ed Bott. Kim Masters calls it “Another no-kidding, you-don’t-say development.” Also, “NYT reporter @BenWeiserNYT must have been a runner in a past life, because I literally just saw him run across the newsroom. (To tell editors to publish this major scoop),” tweets Brian Rosenthal.
[rhymes with transfusion]
Meanwhile, we’ve learned a lot about what Paul Manafort was up to and also that his lawyers apparently missed redacting class. Sharon LaFraniere, Kenneth Vogel and Maggie Haberman of The New York Times report, Manafort Shared Trump Campaign Data With Russian Tied to Intelligence Services, Prosecutors Say (61,000+ shares). That revelation is based on a disclosure that Manafort’s lawyers made by accident, “through a formatting error in a document filed to respond to charges that he had lied to prosecutors working for the special counsel.” (“Whoopsie,” as Katie Rogers tweets.)
Patrick LaForge highlights, “In one portion of the filing that Mr. Manafort’s lawyers tried to redact, they instead also revealed that Mr. Manafort ‘may have discussed a Ukraine peace plan’ with the Russian associate, Konstantin V. Kilimnik, “on more than one occasion.’” “Sounds like [rhymes with transfusion],” tweets Karen Tumulty. And Steven Greenhouse thinks, “History will remember that the big headline today wasn't Trump's low-energy speech full of falsehoods about immigration. It was the revelation that the Trump campaign/Trump's campaign manager, unarguably colluded with Russia, according to prosecutors.”
Spencer Hsu, Rachel Weiner and Rosalind Helderman of The Washington Post are also following the story, Paul Manafort shared 2016 polling data with Russian employee, according to court filing, and Julia Ioffe thinks it’s “Not a nothingburger, dare I say.” Also, “If you had Failed Redaction in Dumpster Fire Bingo, congratulations!” says Ben Greenman.
Moving on, here’s a “Really great piece on how personal data gets handed over to a whole chain of off-market brokers,” Cecilia Kang says. At Motherboard, Joseph Cox reveals, I Gave a Bounty Hunter $300. Then He Located Our Phone. He tweets, “Scoop: AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint all selling customers’ real-time location; ultimately ends up in the hands of bounty hunters. I know, because I paid someone $300 on the black market to track us. Located to a specific part of New York. No hacking required.” Yep — as Thomas Rid puts it, “This is a holy shit story.”
Meanwhile, Samsung Phone Users Get a Shock: They Can't Delete Facebook, as Sarah Frier writes at Bloomberg. “Goldman Sachs was famously dubbed a ‘great vampire squid’ ... Facebook might be a 'great zombie octopus.' Tentacles everywhere,” tweets Saqib Ahmed.
In other Facebook news, Salvador Rodriguez of CNBC spoke with more than a dozen former Facebook employees, and they described the culture as ‘cult-like,’ where dissent is discouraged, and everyone must appear happy. But Josh Brown isn’t having it: “These people all make half a million dollars a year and can leave at any time. Don’t feel so bad. I’ve had insanely terrible jobs, so have you.” Either way, in light of this investigation, Ali Winston says, “I'm not a fan of David Eggers but damn he must've done some actual reporting before writing ‘The Circle.’”
Not just kangaroos (neo-nazis, for example)
Hoo boy. OK, Bari Weiss has a new column in The New York Times about how Australians Have More Fun, and it’s...getting some attention. As Alana Horowitz Satlin puts it, “Bari Weiss is every single white girl in college who did a semester abroad and now won't stop moaning about how Americans just don’t, like, get it.” Olivia Solon offers an alternate headline: “Australia: there’s more to it than kangaroos, discovers NYT columnist.” Sam Baker sugarcoats it a bit with his take: “This is the worst thing I have read in quite some time.”
Also, notes Jason Wilson, “In what universe is there no culture war in Australia.” As Julia Wong points out, “neo-nazis held a rally to intimidate immigrants in melbourne last week but i’m glad bari had a nice vacation in a country that she reports is ‘not in the midst of a raging culture war.’” Anyway, Benjy Sarlin is ready to take a deep dive for the cause, tweeting, “This article seems to be controversial, which seems like the perfect news hook for my editors to pay to send me to Australia for two weeks to re-report it.”
So, how about a “Yes yes yes yes yes to this article about women over 60 as the new power players in the workplace. Pelosi, Waters, Zirinsky, Warren, @GayleKing, @camanpour, and so many others are transforming perceptions of women at this age.” Jodi Kantor links to Jessica Bennett’s piece for The New York Times, I Am (an Older) Woman. Hear Me Roar. “It me,” says Jamie Feldmar. Tweets Katharine Q. Seelye, “For Yann Moix and all the other men who don’t notice women over 50: listen up, to @jessicabennett.” “Right on sisters🤜🏼!” adds Katie Couric.
A few more
- Julian Borger of The Guardian reports that Turkish Journalist Pelin Ünker has been sentenced to jail in Turkey for her work on the Paradise Papers investigation. Mike Forsythe calls Ünker “a very brave person going to jail for telling the truth.”
- Some really good news you may have missed: Michael Paulson of The New York Times reports that Lin-Manuel Miranda and friends have purchased the Drama Book Shop (138,000+ shares). “Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!” tweets Scott Simon.
- New scoop from Kim Zetter at POLITICO reveals how Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab helped catch an alleged NSA data thief.
- TMZ reports that R. Kelly is under criminal investigation in Georgia (115,000+ shares) as a result of Lifetime’s docuseries ‘Surviving.’
- Forget Inbox Zero. At The Atlantic, Taylor Lorenz makes the case for Inbox Infinity with her advice for 2019, Don’t Reply to Your Emails.
- “OK, folks. Let’s form a syndicate,” says Mark Long, reacting to the news that the Chrysler Building, a Famed Slice of Manhattan Skyline, Is on the Block, as Keiko Morris reports for The Wall Street Journal.