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Vox Sentences: Welcome to another edition of Donald “You’re Fired” Trump

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Reports indicate Trump once tried to fire special counsel Robert Mueller; Russian elections pit Putin against ... himself.


That time Trump tried to fire Mueller

Alex Wong/Getty Images
  • There was an interesting development in the Russia investigation story late this week: President Donald Trump reportedly really wanted special counsel Robert Mueller out, according to a bombshell report by the New York Times. [NYT / Michael Schmidt and Maggie Haberman]
  • Mueller has been investigating the Trump campaign’s alleged ties to Russian officials and whether Trump committed obstruction of justice by firing FBI Director James Comey. [Washington Post / Carol D. Leonnig, Ashley Parker, Rosalind S. Helderman, and Tom Hamburger]
  • So in essence, Trump allegedly tried to fire the man who is investigating the firing of James Comey. That is, until White House counsel Don McGahn not only refused to do it but threatened to quit if Trump went through with it. [Vox / Andrew Prokop]
  • Trump, who has reportedly grown increasingly frustrated with the Mueller investigation in recent months, built a case against Mueller around three points: 1) Mueller allegedly had some kind of dispute of membership fees at Trump’s National Golf Club, 2) Mueller previously worked at a law firm that represented Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, and 3) Mueller had interviewed for the FBI director position the day before his appointment as special counsel. [NYT / Michael Schmidt and Maggie Haberman]
  • The latest New York Times report is yet another indication that Trump has repeatedly tried to interfere with the Russia investigation, something that could be built into a larger case of obstruction of justice. [Lawfare / Susan Hennessey, Quinta Jurecic, and Benjamin Wittes]
  • This is key because legal experts believe that Mueller’s case on obstruction of justice for Trump firing Comey is far stronger than any Russia collusion case. [Vox / Zack Beauchamp]
  • Meanwhile, congressional conservatives have continued their stand against the Russia investigation and escalated their campaign to mire Mueller’s name in scandal. Most recently, this involved pushing a classified internal memo in the House, put together by Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), which purportedly shows the partisan biases within the FBI against Trump. [Vox / Jane Coaston]

Russia presidential elections 2018: Putin vs. Putin

  • It’s time for another presidential election in Russia, and you can probably guess the lone name on the ballot. (Hint: It starts with a “P” and ends with an “utin.”) [Newsweek / Damien Sharkov]
  • Despite there only being one possible election result, campaign season for the Putin administration is in full swing. His election website boasts eight or so organizations pushing his candidacy. [Putin 2018]
  • In some ways, Putin might not be wrong to campaign. The existing term limits dictate 2018 as his last election. Kremlin officials want to be able to point to voter turnout as evidence of why the current limit should be overruled. [NYT / Neil MacFarquhar]
  • For those trying to organize against the Putin administration, elections can be a cause for either unity or frustration. Some opposition politicians describe their supporters as confused and deflated every six years when elections roll around. [Washington Post / Anton Troianovski]

Miscellaneous

  • Time to push back the timeline of human migration: A jawbone discovered in a cave in Israel suggests humans migrated from Africa earlier than we thought. [Discover / Gemma Tarlach]
  • In other discovery news, there’s a new record for the largest prime number. And it was found in the most unlikely of places: on a church computer in a Memphis suburb. [NYT / Valencia Prashad]
  • If you’re feeling insecure about your accomplishments this week, you might want to avoid ESPN: Roger Federer will go for Grand Slam title No. 20 on Sunday. [SBNation / James Brady]
  • If you want to feel better about your choices, check out the videos from the so-called “Nutella riots” in France, where grocery stores made the mistake of putting the beloved spread on sale. [BBC]

Verbatim

“They’re stronger than us.” [Paris Zoological Park officials, after the park was evacuated and closed when dozens of baboons escaped their enclosure / Guardian]


Watch this: Why danger symbols can’t last forever

How to design fear, explained with 99% Invisible. [YouTube / Christophe Haubursin, Roman Mars, and Kurt Kohlstedt]


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