Catch Me, If You Can! Wonkagenda For Mon., March 25, 2019
Morning Wonketariat! Here's some of the things we may be talking about today.
Robert Mueller concluded his Trump-Russia investigation on Friday, and yesterday Trump's AG Bill Barr said Mueller concluded that Trump and Putin didn't concoct a scheme to steal the 2016 election, "despite multiple offers from Russia-affiliated individuals to assist the Trump campaign." While Mueller concluded that Trump World was slick (or dumb) enough not to get caught, his team was less conclusive on potential obstruction of justices charges, stating that while the report "does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him." According to Barr's summary of Mueller's report, Mueller's team wrestled with whether or not Trump's incessant shitposting and screaming constituted obstruction of justice. Trump World has since launched a scorched Earth campaign of vengeance aimed at Democrats and the media, and is shouting over calls from progressives to release Mueller's full report. This morning, Trump has (naturally) been shitposting about #Merica ahead of a planned victory lap around MAGA country, while his TV lawyers ceaselessly scream "no collusion" and "vindication." [Barr Summary]
Mueller's inability to say if Trump obstructed justice is now the talk of the town. While the report MIGHT have given Nancy Pelosi some breathing room to focus on additional investigations into Trump fuckery, crowds are still calling to IN PEACH. There is also a growing chorus for AG Barr to release ALL THE THINGS in the Mueller report so the public has more than just some half-assed summary from one of Trump's cronies.
Federal prosecutors have dropped charges against 188 people accused of rioting during Trump's inauguration. Not only that, but the DOJ is admitting it royally screwed up after one former DOJ prosecutor was found to be playing fast and loose with evidence, and dropped the charges with prejudice -- so the government can't bring charges against any of the inauguration protesters again.
Federal courts have not been kind to Betsy DeVos, consistently thwarting her efforts to scale back Obama-era protections for students. The Trump administration's battle to screw student borrowers and give handouts to shady for-profit schools has gone on largely behind the scenes, but they keep shooting themselves in the foot thanks to their own incompetence.
It's no secret people with ties to big energy companies have been welcomed into the Trump administration with arms as wide open as collection plates, but the Center for Investigative Reporting's Reveal has dug up audio of oil industry execs bragging about their "direct access" to Trump officials. With David Barnhardt, the oil industry lobbyist tapped to replace disgraced former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, set to face the Senate's Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Thursday, Reveal's story poses serious questions about Barnhardt's ability to separate himself from all the Captain Planet villains he's friends with.
ICYMI: Large swaths of the farm belt are still underwater, forcing Iowa voters to think about the inconvenient truth of climate change. This comes as the Senate is getting ready to consider debating proposals laid out in the Green New Deal, and Republicans double-down on their efforts to skull fuck Mother Earth.
A new Emerson poll shows South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg rocketing to third place in Iowa. Buttigieg hasn't technically declared himself to be a 2020 Democratic candidate, but now that he's just behind Biden and Bernie it's safe to say #HesRunning.
As many as a million people flooded the streets of London demanding an end to the convoluted Brexit process over the weekend. The crushing throng of people caused UK Chancellor Philip Hammond to say that a "second referendum should be considered," even if there isn't enough support in Parliament to cancel Brexit (yet). Smelling blood, conservative MPs are now calling for the head of Prime Minister Theresa May (again), penning bitchy op-eds, and grousing about how she couldn't get a good deal that avoids "no-deal" (even if that's what pro-Brexiters wanted all along). Late this morning, Reuters, citing reports from ITV, reported that May has told Brexiters that she'd quit-fire herself if MPs voted for her thrice defeated deal.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is already tugging on Trump's leash and asking for some TLC now that Robert Mueller is no longer giving Russian hackers the stink eye. "There's a chance to renew much in our relations," writes Konstantin Kosachyov, the chair of the international relations committee in Russia's upper house of parliament, "but the question is whether Trump will take the risk."
Compared to India, Russia and China, the computer science geeks in the US are doing a hell of a lot better upon graduating college, according to a new study. On top of doing better than the "shithole countries" who keep trying to steal all our base on the Interwebs, the study shows the gender disparities in nerd world are much smaller in the US than they are in other countries.
The California man who laid out naked mannequins in sexy poses to piss off a nosy neighbor tells police someone stole his sexy mannequins -- and that's AFTER he installed a "guard" mannequin with a helmet to keep an eye on things!
And here's your morning Nice Time! FRANCOIS LANGUR BABIES!
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