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Vox Sentences: Did Barr lie to Congress?

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Attorney General William Barr is under even more scrutiny after his Senate hearing; Chinese police are tracking minority groups via app.

Democrats intensify criticism of Barr after hearing

Win McNamee/Getty Images
  • Attorney General William Barr is under fire from Democrats following his testimony Wednesday in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee. [Washington Post / Devlin Barrett, Matt Zapotosky, Karoun Demirjian, and Rosalind S. Helderman]
  • As Barr was questioned about his handling of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report, it became clear that there were two separate narratives: Republicans tried to push the investigation toward a conclusion, while Democrats thought the Trump administration’s actions in the report needed more scrutiny. [NYT / Katie Benner and Nicholas Fandos]
  • The morning of the hearing, a letter Mueller sent to Barr was also leaked. According to the letter, Mueller expressed concern that Barr’s four-page summary of his report “did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance” of his team’s investigation. [Vox / Jen Kirby]
  • This means that Barr was aware of Mueller’s response to his summary, which contradicts his testimony to the House Appropriations Committee that he did not know if Mueller disagreed with his characterization of the report. [Politico / Heather Caygle and Andrew Desiderio]
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Barr had “lied to Congress” and committed a “crime,” during her weekly press conference on Thursday. [NBC News / Rebecca Shabad]
  • Other Democrats have gone even further and called for Barr to resign, including Sens. Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren. [CNN / Caroline Kelly]
  • The tension between House Democrats and the White House is escalating rapidly. House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler has already threatened to hold Barr in contempt of Congress for not showing up to a hearing with his committee on Thursday and for not meeting his subpoena deadline for an unredacted version of the Mueller report. [Vox / Ella Nilsen]
  • How things will play out is still uncertain. Democrats are hoping to get more clarity from Mueller, and have requested for him to testify in front of the House Judiciary Committee. [Reuters]

Keeping tabs on Uighurs in China

  • Chinese police are using a mobile app with facial recognition technology to keep tabs on citizens of Xinjiang, most likely targeting minority groups like the Muslim Uighur community. [Guardian / Simina Mistreanu]
  • The app tracks citizens’ every move and flags “suspicious activity,” according to a Human Rights Watch report. The group says the level of surveillance may be “unprecedented in modern history.” [Human Rights Watch]
  • Dangerous people are detected based on 36 criteria, which include people who don’t use their front door or use large amounts of electricity. Although a specific ethnic group is not singled out, it does include unofficial imams (Muslim leaders) and people who have gone on hajj (Islamic pilgrimage) without state authorization. [BBC]
  • China has already been heavily criticized for its treatment of Uighurs. The country has detained as many as 1 million people in mass internment camps, forcing them to undergo a “re-education” process. [Vox / Jen Kirby]
  • China claims the camps are just training centers used to combat extremism and prevent terrorism. The government tightened surveillance in the county after two violent incidents with Uighur Muslims in 2009 and 2013. [NYT / Nick Cumming-Bruce]
  • China also claims it’s trying to build the world’s biggest camera surveillance network to promote safety. This app, however, shows the dark side of Big Brother. [Forbes / Zak Doffman]


  • A Church of Scientology-owned cruise ship is being quarantined on a Caribbean island after a crew member was confirmed to have measles. [Rolling Stone / E.J. Dickson]
  • There’s been progress in making feminine products more accessible across the country. Tampon dispensers, however, are stuck in the ’70s. [WSJ / Alexandra Bruell]
  • Wondering why none of your Tinder dates go well? These dating advice services could help. [NYT / Lisa M. Collins]
  • Researchers examining shrimp from a rural area of England found cocaine and other drugs, as well as pesticides, in every single sample. Experts are worried about the long-term effects these contaminated waters may have on wildlife. [Guardian / Agence France-Presse]
  • A professional sports gambler has won more than $1 million on Jeopardy so far with his knowledge of obscure facts. The question that stumped him: Who is Ben Sasse? [Washington Post / Reis Thebault]


“China is willing to conduct exchange on this issue with all parties on the basis of equality and mutual respect. In the meantime, we firmly oppose the interference in China’s internal affairs by anyone under the pretext of human rights.” [Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang after UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres raised the issue of surveillance in Xinjiang]

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The longest-running reality show in the US. [YouTube / Mac Schneider]

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