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Vox Sentences: Ecuador cuts the cord on Julian Assange

Vox Sentences is your daily digest for what's happening in the world, curated by Dara Lind and Dylan Matthews. Sign up for the Vox Sentences newsletter, delivered straight to your inbox Monday through Friday, or view the Vox Sentences archive for past editions.

Ecuador not-exactly-but-pretty-much accuses WikiLeaks of trying to tamper with the US elections; why Hillary Clinton's inner circle is demoralized (hint: see previous); the surprisingly close race for the US Senate.

Clintonista Apology Tour

John Podesta Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images
  • WikiLeaks has continued to release batches of emails obtained by hackers from the private account of Hillary Clinton campaign chair John Podesta. The most recent batch, released Saturday night, brought the cache of released emails to 11,000. [NPR / Meg Anderson]
  • WikiLeaks says it will release up to 50,000 emails in total before the election. That plan might have hit a snafu (see next section).
  • The Podesta hacks have revealed some moderately important information — they've given the public a glimpse of what Clinton actually said during some of those famous secret Wall Street speeches (though the speeches themselves don't include many bombshells). [NYT / Amy Chozick and Nick Confessore]
  • And because the emails feature many key players in Clintonworld, they help flesh out people who are likely to play important roles in a Clinton White House — like close adviser Huma Abedin. [Politico / Annie Karni]
  • But for the most part, the emails are a combination of things already known in public (like that Clinton at least briefly considered naming Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren as her running mate...) [TPM / Andrew Taylo]
  • ...and the sort of dumb gossip and sniping that you'd find if you looked through the private emails of any organization, which is embarrassing dirty laundry to have aired. The result is that just at a time when it looks near certain that Clinton will win the election, her inner circle is demoralized. [Politico / Annie Karni and Glenn Thrush]
  • It also raises an odd etiquette question: What do you do when you find out someone's said something mean about you, but you morally object to the way you found out about it? (Answer: what Harvard Law professor and erstwhile Clinton primary challenger Lawrence Lessig did.) [Lawrence Lessig]

Julian Assange reduced to trying to sneak onto open access wifi network of the Pret across the street

Jawad al Rifai/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
  • So about those future WikiLeaks leaks. Here's why they might not happen: Julian Assange doesn't have internet access anymore. It got cut off Saturday, shortly after the latest Podesta emails were posted. [AP / Raphael Satter]
  • (Assange, you may recall, has been living in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for several years, to save himself from questioning in Sweden about an alleged rape in 2010.) [ABC Australia]
  • WikiLeaks blamed the US for directing Ecuador to cut off Assange's internet. Supposedly, Secretary of State John Kerry told Ecuador that Assange could threaten peace negotiations between the Colombian government and the FARC rebels (presumably because something in the hacked emails could disrupt the negotiations). [McClatchy / Tim Johnson]
  • On Tuesday afternoon, though, Ecuador put out a statement confirming that it had "temporarily" cut off Assange's internet due to what it implied were WikiLeaks' attempts to interfere in the US election. [Eric Geller via Twitter]
  • That doesn't necessarily mean the US didn't request the cutoff. After all, two weeks ago, the president of Ecuador made a (somewhat surprising) endorsement of Hillary Clinton. [BuzzFeed News / Karla Zabludovsky]
  • Ecuador's statement on Assange is likely to confirm the belief that the Russian government has been using WikiLeaks, and the American media, as a weapon to destabilize US politics. [Vox / Zack Beauchamp]
  • Then again, it's possible — as former head of the NSA Michael Hayden implied Tuesday — that Russia isn't exactly doing anything the US hasn't done many times before. [The Hill / Joe Uchill]

Are Democratic Senate candidates so weak that they'll revive split-ticket voting?

Kelly Ayotte and Maggie Hassan AP Photo/Jim Cole
  • The race for the presidency is not looking terribly close. But the race for the Senate definitely is! Talking Points Memo shows neither party has a majority locked down. So let's talk about that. [TPM]
  • It's actually quite odd that Democratic Senate candidates are polling so far behind Clinton. Over the past several elections, "split-ticket voting" (voting for one party for president and the other for Congress) has all but disappeared. [The Atlantic / Ronald Brownstein]
  • But the trend this year, at least in polls, is unmistakable: Clinton is polling way ahead of her party's Senate slate, though both are leading. If that trend holds in the ballot box, we could see a resurgence of ballot splitting. [FiveThirtyEight / Harry Enten]
  • Certainly, some Democratic Senate candidates are simply weak — like Florida's Patrick Murphy, who's getting beaten so badly by Marco Rubio that the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has pulled money out of the state. [Politico / Burgess Everett and Kevin Robillard]
  • And some Republican senators are running strong, smart campaigns — like Ohio's Rob Portman, who has a voter mobilization plan to target split-ticket voters (thus saving his own race, though it's not particularly close, and perhaps dooming Trump's chances of winning Ohio). [Bloomberg / Sasha Issenberg]
  • If you assume Clinton will win the White House, the question of who takes the Senate becomes super important. It's not at all clear whether a Republican-led Senate, after eight months of stonewalling the Supreme Court nomination of Merrick Garland so that the next president could fill the seat, would actually approve a Clinton nominee either. [Vox / Tara Golshan]
  • If Democrats take the Senate, they'd probably find a way to confirm the Supreme Court nominee. But what they'd do afterward — even though they could have a lot of power with a Democratic president — is a little fuzzy. [Vox / Libby Nelson]


  • Ethiopia's dictatorship has gone largely uncriticized in the West, given the country's willingness to work with foreign investors and cooperate with the US military. But now that it's declaring a state of emergency and unrest is growing, that could change. [The Economist]
  • Canada is one of the few Western countries without a large-scale anti-immigrant backlash. Conservative party leadership contender Kellie Leitch would like to change that. [Vice / Justin Ling]
  • What the (weak, feckless) American Green Party can learn from the (powerful, effective) German Green Party. [The Conversation / Per Urlaub]
  • JoJo was the youngest person in US history to have a No. 1 single, at age 13. Then she dropped off the map. Now, at only 25, she finds herself having to execute a career comeback. [NY Mag / Lindsay Peoples]
  • London still pays rent to the queen for a property it leased in 1211. [Atlas Obscura / Sarah Laskow]


  • "Look up what happened to Eugene Debs. He spent his life working to build a socialist movement, only to see it destroyed. Then ten years later, FDR picked up half of what Debs was talking about. That’s how the world works. We don’t have the luxury to give up, OK?" [Bernie Sanders to New Republic / Eric Bates]
  • "My dear students say, 'Thank you for what you did for us.' And I say, 'What did I do for you?' And they say, 'Now we’re free to have a life on our own terms and do whatever we want to do.' And I say, 'No, you’re not free to have a life on your own terms at all. So sorry!'" [Ann Snitow to the Nation / Sarah Leonard]
  • "We can fully buy into what HGTV is selling, or we can read along with Marx as each new commodity is fetishized in front of us. The network allows for both readings —  it’s an open concept." [Pacific Standard / Phillip Maciak]
  • "WHAT: A Denver Zoo Asian elephant will stomp two, giant pumpkins! WHO:Pumpkin donated by giant pumpkin hobbyist Brian Deevy WHY: To see super-sized squashes get stomped by an elephant!" [Denverite / Andrew Kenney]
  • "His Yahoo Answers profile, stretching back more than a decade, paints a fuller picture. Across hundreds of questions and answers, Mitchell reveals a successful recovery from colon cancer, a frequent desire for feedback on whether or not to color his graying hair, and endless mundane curiosities ranging from the silly ('Why do Jack Russell owners all look like the [sic] want to kill themselves?' 'Would a bumble bee the size of a man be able to fly?') to the more existential ('What is intuition and how often is it correct?' 'Why don’t they create a condom that covers just the top inch of your penis?')." [BuzzFeed / Charlie Warzel]

Watch this: Harry Potter and the translator’s nightmare

Accio Harry Potter translations! [YouTube / Gina Barton]