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Vox Sentences: Battles in eastern Yemen endanger 250,000 civilians

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The Justice Department’s inspector general releases his hotly anticipated report; Saudi coalitions fight for control in Yemen.


Inspector general reports Comey was “insubordinate”

Brooks Kraft LLC/Corbis via Getty Images
  • Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz has released a hotly anticipated report, in which he found that there was little political bias in the way former FBI Director James Comey handled the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails during the 2016 presidential election. [Reuters / Sarah N. Lynch and Mark Hosenball]
  • The IG report did find that Comey “deviated” from governmental procedures when he informed Congress — and the nation — that he was reopening the investigation into Clinton’s emails just 11 days before the election. This harmed the FBI’s perception of being fair and impartial, according to the report. [Bloomberg / Chris Strohm]
  • Comey responded in a tweet today, saying he stands by the decision he made in 2016, and adding he believes it was made in the face of “unprecedented” circumstances. [The Hill / Jacqueline Thomsen]
  • The report also addresses the controversial texts between two FBI officials, Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, that said “we’ll stop” Trump from becoming president. The inspector general acknowledged that despite political bias and inappropriate behavior on the part of the FBI agents, the texts did not have a direct impact on any department investigation. [Daily Beast / Betsy Woodruff]
  • There’s certainly the possibility that President Trump will attempt to “exploit” the report in order to undermine the FBI, the Justice Department, and Mueller’s work in the Russia investigation. But really, it’s a case of apples to oranges, because the IG report investigated Comey’s conduct that ended up harming Clinton, not Trump. [Vox / Andrew Prokop]
  • The report “found no evidence” that the Justice Department wrongly let Clinton off the hook. Nevertheless, Trump could also try to use the report as ammunition against his political enemies (he’s already tweeted about it). [NYT / Matt Apuzzo, Nicholas Fandos, and Charlie Savage]

Battles for an essential port in Yemen continue amid ongoing civil war

  • Yemen began an assault against Iran-backed Houthi rebels to retake the port city of Hodeidah on Wednesday. It’s being led by a Saudi Arabian coalition, and Yemen anticipates the battle could be completed within a week. [AP / Jon Gambrell]
  • The port is essential in combating Yemen’s dire famine. The Saudis would theoretically open the port if they prevail, giving 20 million Yemenis their only access to food and humanitarian aid in the rebel-controlled territory. [The Hill / Simon Henderson]
  • Yemen has been torn apart by a bitter civil war that began in 2014 and escalated in 2015. So far, 10,000 civilians have been killed in the fighting. More than 8 million civilians are on “the brink of starvation,” and another 22 million have been deprived necessary humanitarian aid. [BBC]
  • The United Nations fears this latest attack on the port city could kill up to 250,000 civilians. [Guardian / Patrick Wintour]
  • The US has a vested interest in seeing Iran’s scope of influence in the Middle East wane. However, the US military has “restricted its support” of the coalition due to concerns of civilian casualties. [WSJ / Asa Fitch]

Miscellaneous

  • Steve Bannon is vying for a comeback via bitcoin. Bitcoin, on the other hand, is not vying for a comeback via Bannon. [The Verge / Shannon Liao]
  • With New York’s best and brightest in the room, Ivana Trump spent her Tuesday night boozing and schmoozing at the Plaza Hotel in an effort to promote her latest sponsorship, “the Italiano Diet.” [The Atlantic / Elaina Plott]
  • A girl in Minnesota got her head in a truck’s exhaust pipe and had to be rescued by firefighters (she’s fine!). The video someone took of the incident (because of course) now has more than 1.3 million views. [Vice / Drew Schwartz]
  • San Fransisco has elected its first black female mayor, London Breed. The election comes amid a wave of black women coming into power in 2018. [HuffPost / Sara Boboltz]

Verbatim

“White Americans, who ‘seem lost,’ are searching for something important: how to see ourselves without turning awful in the process.” [Emily Bazelon in “White People Are Noticing Something New: Their Own Whiteness” / New York Times Magazine]


Watch this: Dungeons & Dragons, explained

Dungeons & Dragons, explained: why we love this nerdy role-playing fantasy game. [YouTube / Carlos Maza and Gina Barton]


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