A reportorial labor of love
Just who is this Robert Mueller? Noah Weiland and Katie Rogers of The New York Times decided to find out, and it wasn’t easy, because As Special Counsel, Mueller Kept Such a Low Profile He Seemed Almost Invisible, they point out. Josh Dawsey calls him “The Invisible, Ubiquitous Man. Great @katierogers & @noahweiland look at how Mueller conducted his investigation -- and what might be next for him.” On Twitter, Rogers notes, “For years, Robert Mueller was a symbol more than anything, a liberal fantasy or a conservative bogeyman, depending on the beholder. @noahweiland and I looked at the Subaru-driving, parka-wearing, churchgoing man behind the myth. This is also really a @noahweiland reportorial labor of love. He chased down Apple Geniuses and even Subaru dealers to get a sense of who this man was. 👏🏻”
Meanwhile, “You say you want a media reckoning? Here’s mine,” tweets Margaret Sullivan. In her latest Washington Post column, Sullivan writes that serious journalists should be proud of — not bullied over — their Russia reporting. Will Bunch’s advice: “If you only read one thing about journalism today, post-Mueller, read this great column by @Sulliview -- maybe her best ever, which is saying something.” But Tom Petruno says, “Unfortunately, this won't resonate with a huge chunk of the public -- maybe even a majority at the moment.”
Benghazi? Is that you?
Yesterday, Mitch McConnell blocked a resolution calling for Mueller's report to be released publicly (190,000+ shares), Jordain Carney reports at The Hill. Which is weird, right? Doesn’t the report exonerate Trump? As Aaron Weiss tweets, “Why is Mitch McConnell so scared of something that completely vindicates the president?” Ohhh...Michael Carlson has it figured out: “Releasing the report would be socialism? Benghazi?” But Dale Alison has a simpler explanation: “Mitch McConnell is pulling a Mitch McConnell.”
It just keeps getting worse
There’s a lot of news right now, but there are some stories you shouldn’t miss in all the noise. For example, at The Washington Post, Jeff Stein and Josh Dawsey report that Puerto Rico faces a food stamps crisis as Trump privately vents about federal aid to Hurricane Maria-battered island. On Twitter, Dawsey explains, “Trump has repeatedly told aides he doesn’t want federal $$$ going to Puerto Rico, be it HUD or food stamp assistance. Last month, there was an Oval meeting on curbing funds.” Shorter, via Hayes Brown: “The president really, really hates Puerto Rico.” Tweets Steve Silberman, “I wonder what pisses off Trump more - that the mayor of San Juan didn't beg and grovel and supplicate herself to him like a visiting king when he threw paper towels at that freakshow photo opp, or just that Puerto Ricans are brown?”
Also, “ICYMI, Millions stand to lose health insurance via new Trump court move against ACA, and that’s not an alarmist take — but it’s not getting much attention this morning considering,” tweets Melanie Sill. At Axios, Sam Baker explains how the Trump administration’s new ACA strike-down stance could be cataclysmic for health care. Earlier he had reported that the Justice Department, in a new legal filing on Monday, is now saying the courts should strike down the entire Affordable Care Act — not just its protections for pre-existing conditions. Shorter: “It just keeps getting worse,” tweets Tracy Staedter. But, Baker writes, “Politically, this makes no sense. Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi must be dancing in the streets.”
For more, read Dan Diamond at POLITICO, who writes, in shift, Trump administration backs ruling that all of Obamacare should be thrown out. That piece quotes Nick Bagley, a University of Michigan law professor, as saying, “Barr inherited an indefensible legal position. But instead of backing down, he’s embraced a downright crazy one.”
Pick your poison
After scientists at the Fish and Wildlife Service wrapped up a comprehensive analysis of the threat three widely used pesticides present to hundreds of endangered species, Interior nominee David Bernhardt intervened to block the report. Thanks to details revealed in more than 84,000 pages of Interior Department and EPA documents obtained via Freedom of Information requests, Eric Lipton of The New York Times has the full story on how Bernhardt, then the deputy secretary of the interior and a former lobbyist and oil-industry lawyer, intervened.
Annie Snider commends the “Nice get by @EricLiptonNYT. Worth noting that Bernhardt was the longtime lobbyist for a Calif. agricultural district whose members have a big stake in this fight - The Westlands Water District.” Adds Sharon Lerner, “wow @ericliptonNYT showing the chem industry destroying endangered species for profit. My fav part: the info was accidentally released in a FOIA response obtained by The Times. ‘They intended to keep this tally a secret.’”
And then there’s coal. In blow to climate, coal plants emitted more than ever in 2018, report Chris Mooney and Brady Dennis of The Washington Post. On Twitter, the reactions range from Marc Gunther’s “Bummer” to Philip Gourevitch’s “Hell’s bells” to Ian Bremmer’s “Worst news of the week.” Many are also sharing the quote in that piece by Stanford scientist Rob Jackson: “We are headed for disaster, and nobody seems to be able to slow things down.” To put this into perspective, Brian Kahn tweets, “The thing about the Mueller report is carbon emissions rose last year thanks to most rapid increase in energy demand in a decade.”
A big deal
On to some better news. Andrew O’Day wonders if we might see a few “Oases in some of our nation’s news deserts?” The glimmer of hope comes from the scoop by Axios’s Sara Fischer, who reports that Google is launching the Local Experiments Project, an effort to fund dozens of new local news websites around the country and eventually around the world. Also: “The tech giant says it will have no editorial control over the sites, which will be built by partners it selects with local news expertise.” Tweets Bill Grueskin, “This @sarafischer scoop is a big deal. Google is *directly funding* new local-news sites, using a newspaper chain (McClatchy) as its publishing partner and promising total editorial independence. A very different model from what we've seen in the past.”
“And here’s the @WSJ with actual concrete details about how the Apple News+ partnership works.” Nick Statt links to the report by Lukas Alpert of The Wall Street Journal on how the Journal’s Partnership With Apple Marks Shift in Strategy. Sarah Rabil highlights something you might be interested in: “We'll be hiring dozens of additional journalists! Stay tuned (All opportunities will be posted on http://wsj.jobs starting later this week).”
Undercover with the fake Australian gun-nut
You’ve learned a little about Robert Mueller. Now, “Meet Rodger Muller. The Australian who - for three years - posed as gun rights activist to infiltrate the @NRA and filmed the lot .. including its meetings with Pauline Hanson’s One Nation,” tweets Gaven Morris. In a three-year investigation for Al Jazeera, Rodger Muller went undercover to expose the US, Australia gun lobby. This piece is, as Hugh Riminton tweets, “The first person account by the fake Australian gun-nut who revealed - indeed, set-up - #OneNation’s links to the @NRA.” Mark DiStefano calls it a “Proper bombshell undercover report.”
OK, now...what? Because Matthew Cantor of The Guardian (note: NOT The Onion) is reporting that NASA has cancelled its first all-female spacewalk, citing lack of suit in woman’s size (82,000+ shares). “Umm can't they just make a new suit. It's NASA,” Joshua Topolsky points out. Pretty sure even NASA Barbie had this one figured out.
But just so we’re clear, this is a real thing that happened, and you can read more about the “wardrobe malfunction,” which is how Lindsey Bever, Kayla Epstein and Allyson Chiu put it, at The Washington Post. “Humanity: Able to land a rover on Mars and communicate with it, or have a probe get close to a comet hurtling through space. Also humanity: Hmm, we don't seem to have this in your size, Woman Astronaut,” tweets Olivier Knox. Chris Taylor says, “If I were a woman I would just be furious all the damn time,” and that pretty much sums it up.
“The heartbreak continues.” John Schwartz links to the news that the father of Sandy Hook victim Avielle Richman has been found dead after apparent suicide. At the Hartford Courant, Nicholas Rondinone, Rebecca Lurye and Neil Vigdor report that Jeremy Richman was found at his Main Street office building, not far from the site of the 2012 massacre. They note that it’s “the third apparent suicide in a week in which the victim was tied to a mass shooting at a U.S. school.”
Who said there would be no indictments? Brian Melley and Larry Neumeister of AP News report that Michael Avenatti was arrested Monday on charges that included trying to shake down Nike for as much as $25 million by threatening the company with bad publicity.
Carol Rosenberg is reporting from the Gitmo war court for The New York Times, in partnership with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. Her latest dispatch reveals that the U.S. is said to have tapes of alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed plotting with co-conspirators about the plot months before it took place.
At The Guardian, Harriet Grant reports that a London developer has segregated play areas for richer and poorer residents (51,000+ shares). Duncan Robinson has a pretty brilliant idea: “Gonna set up a PR firm where I charge huge sums of money to just say ‘Don’t behave like a Dickensian villain’ on repeat.”
Now this is quite a perk. Sources tell Ania Nussbaum and Carol Matlack of Bloomberg that Nissan paid tuition for all four of ousted chairman Carlos Ghosn’s children when they attended Stanford University between 2004 and 2015. The tab? Over $600k. James Gibney thinks “Carlos Ghosn is world's best dairy farmer: Look at how he milked the companies he ran.”
Josh Gerstein is on “DISPARAGING NICKNAME WATCH: So, we had Mr. Magoo, Mr. Peepers and now we have Mister Rogers. And, yes, we are living somewhere between the 50s and the 70s.” He links to the scoop by Courtney Kube and Carol Lee of NBC News, Mike Pence talked Dan Coats out of quitting the Trump administration.