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Vox Sentences: Decoding the Mueller report

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A (redacted) Mueller report is finally released; North Korea’s foreign minister wants Pompeo out of nuclear negotiations.

The long-awaited Mueller report is released

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call
  • The long-awaited report on special counsel Robert Mueller’s more than two-year Trump-Russia investigation was finally released, with redactions, shortly after 11 am — and the results may be more damning for President Trump than expected. [NYT / Mark Mazzetti]
  • The report is divided into two “volumes.” The first goes into detail about the Russians’ attempts to interfere in the presidential elections and the contact they established with Trump’s campaign. Although the investigation concluded that Trump was not guilty of directly working with Russia, there is strong evidence of his campaign’s willingness to engage with Russian intelligence. [Vox / Zack Beauchamp]
  • The second volume of the report focuses on Trump’s potential obstruction of justice, which includes his consistent efforts to shut down the investigation — some of which failed only because his aides didn’t listen to his orders. [Politico / Josh Gerstein and Darren Samuelsohn]
  • The day started with a press conference from Attorney General Bill Barr before an audience of reporters who hadn’t yet read the report. And Barr’s summary — which was quite rosy for the president — turned out to contrast, in some cases significantly, with Mueller’s version. [Vox / Laura McGann]
  • Despite the murky conclusions of the report, Trump’s legal team has gone ahead and declared it a “total victory” for the president. [Washington Post / Devlin Barrett and Matt Zapotosky]
  • The responses from the two parties have varied drastically. While Republicans want to move on from the investigation once and for all, Democrats have raised concerns about Trump’s conduct and called to see an unredacted version of the report and for Mueller to testify before Congress. [Vox / Tara Golshan]
  • Although the future impact of the report is yet to be determined, it’s clear that the issues brought up in the report will not be dropped anytime soon. For starters: Mueller has been summoned to speak in front of the House Judiciary Committee on May 23. [NPR / Philip Ewing, Jerome Socolovsky, and Carrie Johnson]

North Korea wants “reckless” Pompeo out of nuclear talks

  • North Korean officials do not want US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to be involved in nuclear negotiations anymore. A senior official said in a statement that if nuclear talks with the US were to resume, then someone who is “more careful and mature” must replace him. The announcement came hours after North Korea tested a tactical missile on Thursday, supposedly to prove that the North is not weakened by negotiations with Washington. [Al Jazeera]
  • North Korean foreign ministry official Kwon Jong Gun said Pompeo had made “reckless” interpretation of a speech from Kim Jong Un that suggested Kim wanted the two countries to finish “working level” negotiations by the end of the year. Kwon called this interpretation “nonsense.” [CNN / James Griffiths]
  • According to Kwon, Kim’s speech last week instead said that Washington has until the end of the year to change its stance regarding sanctions and pressures. [Gulf Today]
  • Pompeo has been instrumental in getting the US and North Korea to negotiate thus far; he was also the one who encouraged Trump to walk away from the recent summit in Hanoi, Vietnam. Some North Korea experts see Pyongyang’s attacks on Pompeo as a tactical error if the goal is to bring the US back to the table. [CNA]


  • At a secret lab in Austin, Texas, is housed a five-armed robot named Daisy, whose job is to systematically dismantle iPhones for recycling. [CNET / Ian Sherr]
  • Josh Bratchley, a diver who helped rescue the Thai soccer team from a cave, was himself rescued from a cave in Tennessee after being trapped for more than 24 hours. [Tennessean / Mariah Timms and Natalie Neysa Alund]
  • Scientists have discovered evidence of helium hydride in a nebula 3,000 light-years away. The molecule, a combination of helium and hydrogen, is believed to be the first to have formed after the Big Bang. [Engadget / Christine Fisher]
  • China has built a simulated Martian colony in the Gobi Desert that it’s calling “Mars Base 1.” It’s currently being used for educational purposes, but China hopes to eventually use it for tourism too. [BGR / Mike Wehner]
  • Uber plans to add new safety features following the killing of a South Carolina college student, whose body was found after she got into a car she thought was her Uber ride. [NBC News / Stephanie Gosk, Conor Ferguson, and Scott Stump]


“I am afraid that, if Pompeo engages in the talks again, the table will be lousy once again and the talks will become entangled.” [Kwon Jong Gun, a senior official in North Korea’s foreign ministry, about the need to replace Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in future negotiations with the US]

Listen to this: Today, Explained and Worldly

Attorney General William Barr released Robert Mueller’s report today. Vox’s Andrew Prokop reads between the redactions and Ezra Klein explains what it all means on Today, Explained. [Spotify]

Bonus: We also have a very special crossover episode of The Weeds and Worldly podcasts. Ezra joins the Worldly crew on a deeper dive into the Mueller report, exploring the special counsel’s main findings on collusion and obstruction of justice — and why they aren’t good for Trump. [Spotify]

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