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Vox Sentences: Facebook gets grilled on the Hill

Vox Sentences is your daily digest for what's happening in the world, , written tonight by Jen Kirby and Libby Nelson. Sign up for the Vox Sentences newsletter, delivered straight to your inbox Monday through Friday, or view the Vox Sentences archive for past editions.

New details about the New York terror attack; tech giants get grilled on the Hill; meet the new Fed chair.

Federal prosecutors charge New York attacker

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  • Federal prosecutors have filed charges against 29-year-old Sayfullo Saipov, who is accused of mowing down pedestrians and cyclists along a Hudson River bike path in Lower Manhattan on Tuesday. The FBI also said it found a second person sought in connection to the attack. [NYT / Benjamin Mueller, Michael Schwirtz, and Adam Goldman]
  • Police said a note exalting ISIS was found inside the rented pickup truck Saipov was allegedly driving. It is one of the many new details emerging about Saipov, who police suspect had been plotting the attack for weeks. [NYT / Benjamin Mueller and Michael Schwirtz]
  • Saipov’s rampage killed eight, many of them visitors to the city, including five Argentine nationals who came to New York to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their high school graduation. [Vox / Sarah Wildman]
  • NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counterterrorism John Miller said Wednesday that Saipov followed ISIS’s playbook "to a T.” Gov. Andrew Cuomo added that based on the preliminary investigation, Saipov appears to have been “radicalized domestically.” [CNN / Nicole Chavez, Holly Yan, and Eric Levinson]
  • Officials are praising 28-year-old NYPD officer Ryan Nash for his role in helping to stop the rampage. The five-year police veteran shot Saipov in the abdomen, leading to his arrest. “He was very humble about what he did, but what he did was extraordinary,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said. [NYT / Sarah Maslin Nir and William K. Rashbaum]
  • President Trump weighed in Wednesday on the terror attack in his hometown by blaming the Diversity Immigrant Visa program, which he described as a “Chuck Schumer beauty.” Saipov, a green card holder from Uzbekistan, entered the US legally through that program in 2010. [Washington Post / Derek Hawkins, Samantha Schmidt, and J. Freedom du Lac]
  • In prepared remarks, Trump said he was “today starting the process of terminating” the diversity visa program. Oh, and he mentioned that he “would certainly consider” sending Saipov to Guantanamo Bay. [NYT / Peter Baker]
  • That Gitmo comment, which Trump made in response to a reporter’s question, followed the president’s suggestion that the US’s process of relying on civilian courts to try and convict terrorists was “a joke,” and that the country needed a method “far quicker and greater” to punish these “animals,” as he called them. That’s problematic for many, many reasons. [Vox /Zack Beauchamp]

Congress questions tech giants

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  • Reps for Facebook, Twitter, and Google returned to Capitol Hill Wednesday for their second round of questioning in two days about Russian meddling on social media in the 2016 election. [NPR / Miles Parks]
  • What did Mark Zuckerberg say? Well, nothing. The CEOs of Facebook, Twitter, and Google were notably absent; the companies sent their legal representatives instead. [Quartz / Hanna Kozlowska]
  • Senators appeared skeptical that tech companies are doing enough to combat fake or divisive news on their platforms in the future. [Washington Post / Callum Borchers]
  • But lawmakers also split along party lines, with Republicans careful to dismiss any outsize role Russian propaganda may have had in electing Donald Trump. [NYT / Cecilia Kang and Nicholas Fandos]
  • The tech giants tried to walk a delicate line: expressing serious concern over foreign meddling while putting possible Russian influence in context. Facebook general counsel Colin Stretch testified that both presidential candidates spent a combined $81 million on Facebook ads, compared to the $100,000 shelled out by the Internet Research Agency, Russia’s troll factory. [Recode / Kurt Wagner]
  • Yet Facebook said 146 million Americans may have seen Russian-linked ads or content on its platforms ahead of the 2016 election — another upward revision. That number includes about 20 million people who may have glimpsed such posts on Instagram. [BuzzFeed / Alex Kantrowitz]
  • Congress did share some of the Russian trolls’ greatest hits on Facebook, including a pro-LGBTQ group that created a Bernie Sanders coloring book. [The Verge / Colin Lecher]

What to know about Trump's pick for Fed chair

Zach Gibson/Bloomberg via Getty Images
  • When Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen’s term ends early next year, Trump will name Jerome Powell to her place, according to the Wall Street Journal. Powell is a Fed governor and Republican who served in President George W. Bush’s Treasury department. [WSJ / Kate Davidson, Peter Nicholas, and David Harrison]
  • The fact that Trump is expected not to reappoint Yellen in the first place breaks precedent. Yellen is finishing her first term, and every Fed chair before her who finished his or her first term was been nominated for a second. [NYT / Maggie Haberman and Binyamin Appelbaum]
  • If he confirms Powell, Trump would actually be signaling that he wants Yellen’s legacy to continue. She has presided over economic growth, and Powell is expected to stick to the fiscal policies she favors, including slow interest rate increases to avoid sudden inflation. [USA Today / Paul Davidson and David Jackson]
  • The Fed is expected to announce another modest rate hike in December, which reflects a steadily growing economy and relatively low unemployment. [Associated Press / Martin Crutsinger]


A serial killer has allegedly killed nine people in Japan, a country with one of the world’s lowest murder rates. [Japan Times]

The least stressful thing on Twitter might be Cloud Twitter, where strangers share photos of clouds with one another. That’s it. Enjoy. [Slate / Heather Schwedel]


Watch this: The latest revelation that ties the Trump campaign to Russia

It sure looks like collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. [YouTube / Ezra Klein, Liz Scheltens, Coleman Lowndes, Aleli May Vuelta, and Mallory Brangan]

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