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Morning Wonketariat! Here's some of the things we may be talking about today.


After two years hiding in the shadowy halls of Washington, Robert Mueller emerged from whatever basement he's been hiding in with a cup of decaf to warn us about on-going election fuckery. Instead of giving a captive TV audience a fiery description of how Trump World is in bed with the Russians, we got an aging war hero from our long dead past stammering that it was "problematic," fearing that this was "the new normal."

TLDR: When Mueller wasn't inartfully dodging questions, we learned a bunch of shit we already knew. Mueller never "totally exonerated" Trump, and he reiterated the opinion of the DOJ's Office of Legal Counsel that a sitting president could not be charged with a crime, and later clarified that his office "did not reach a determination" as to whether or not the president is a crook. Mueller also noted (in so many words) that his investigation wasn't "a witch hunt," and he defended his investigators from attacks by Trump World and its henchmen. [Testimony]

The general consensus from swamp monsters, politicos, and press wizards is that the Mueller hearing was a blockbuster flop for both Republicans and Democrats. While Mueller confirmed that the Russians helped the 2016 Trump campaign, the campaign welcomed the help, and then instructed its people to lie to investigators about it, Mueller's bland, unfaltering neutrality and old man-erisms were unlikely to change any minds in flyover country. Late night hosts ribbed "Bobby Three Sticks" for wasting seven hours of our lives just to tell us to read the goddamn book. Axios gossips that Rudy Giuliani spent last night drunk texting reporters emojis, while Roll Call sent some reporters to DC bars for a depressing podcast that will make you want to hit the bottle early.
[Colbert / The Daily Show / Political Theater podcast / Pretty Photos]

Robert Mueller Repeatedly Declines And Deflects At Congressional Hearing www.youtube.com

House Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler is still pushing to #Impeach, even going so far as to instruct rank-and-file House members about impeachment proceedings, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is continuing to insist upon a slow, methodical process. During a closed door meeting, Pelosi noted that there simply wasn't enough bipartisan or public support backing impeachment proceedings, but Nadler argued the situation was remarkably similar under former President Richard Nixon, and things (eventually) turned around. The Washington Post's Dan Balz writes that the dull Mueller hearing only strengthened Pelosi's argument, but super lefty gibbering podcast loudmouths think there's more than enough evidence to open impeachment proceedings. Meanwhile, Politico has a good update on the investigations that were spun-off.

In a party line vote, 52-40, the Senate voted to confirm Delta Air Lines executive Stephen Dickson to head the FAA. During confirmation hearings, Democrats had taken issue with Dickson seeming to retaliate against whistleblowers raising serious safety issues, but Republicans (and Dickson) argued the whistleblower was a crazy person "overwhelmed" by the stress of being a mother and a pilot, and that she struggled to pump breast milk while flying a plane. Yeah, that happened.

Political wizards are pretty confident that the two-year spending bill will pass the House after the Progressive Caucus issued a grumpy statement of maybe support. There's a couple of Republicans in both the House and Senate who are still bitching, moaning, and dragging their feet (because they hate the troops, and freedom), but Politico reports Trump is ignoring the Tea Party crybabies (for once) after administration officials and senior party leaders told him that it would be political suicide to shut down the government on the eve of an election year.

Even though Robert Mueller JUST SAID Russia and other hostile foreign actors were CURRENTLY trying to fuck around with US elections in 2020, Senate Republicans blocked two election security bills and a cybersecurity bill. Mississippi Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith blocked both bills and declined to say why she didn't think campaigns should be forced to alert the FBI and the FEC when a foreign government offers "dirt," or why the Senate Sergeant at Arms shouldn't offer voluntary tech support for the phones, tablets and computers of legislators and their staff. In a related story, NPR has a decent breakdown of what some 2020 Democratic candidates are calling for to stop foreign fuckery in our elections.

In a rare showing of bipartisan approval, the House approved a new rule to stop robocallers, 429-3. If some conservative corporate shill in the Senate doesn't kill it, the bill would make it easier to slap scammers and robocallers, make carriers deploy call authentication systems faster, and make the FCC update its definition of "robocall."

During a hearing before the House Appropriations Committee's subcommittee on the Department of Homeland Security yesterday, US Border Patrol Chief Carla Provost admitted that she was part of that awful social media group that was mocking immigrants and legislators. Provost says she hardly ever used the social media platform, and only joined the group to spy on her minions while they were shitposting. [Testimony]

E-cigarette behemoth Juul got set on fire yesterday during a hearing before the House Oversight and Reform Economic and Consumer Policy Subcommittee. Members of Congress put e-cigarette company Juul on blast for hawking their robot dicks to teenagers, with Rep. Ayanna Pressley arguing that the company had taken a page "right out of the Big Tobacco playbook." A number of Republicans joined Juul in arguing that the e-cigarette company was an innocent partner of big tobacco that was merely helping smokers quit. The hearings will continue later this afternoon.

2020 Democratic candidate Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has announced a $10 trillion dollar plan to fight climate change. Under Gillibrand's plan, we'd get net-zero electricity within a decade, phase out fossil fuels, and close the so-called "Halliburton loophole" that lets fracking companies spew toxic, flammable waste into our water. Gillibrand's plan would also drop mega bucks to spur jobs in green energy.

Michigan two-term Republican Rep. Paul Mitchell says he won't run in 2020. Mitchell gripes that politics has become too political, and he'd rather spend more time with his family. Under the old rules of political quit-firings, "spend more time with my family" was code for "I got caught with my dick out," or "I'm going to lose my primary." Roll Call notes Mitchell won a four-way primary in 2016 to replace retiring Rep. Candice Miller, and Miller may be plotting her comeback after Mitchell fired off some condemnations of Trump's racist shitposting.

Minnesota Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar has a sobering op-ed in the New York Times about growing up in war-torn Somalia, refugee camps in Kenya, and immigrating to the US. Omar argues that our best strength is our differences, and that we should fight efforts to divide the country along racial and religious lines, adding, "If we succumb to the fever of right-wing nationalism, it will have consequences far beyond our borders."

NICE TIME: Chicago just voted for some of the strictest work scheduling ordinances. We'll finally be able to plan our hangovers weeks in advance!

After days of protests that saw hundreds of thousands pouring into the streets, Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló announced he'd resign on August 2. The announcement came just hours after Puerto Rico's legislature said it was getting ready to convene impeachment proceedings today.

Trump and his family are ALLEGED to have ripped off thousands of aspiring entrepreneurs in a multi-level marketing scheme, according to a new lawsuit.

ALLEGED pedophile Jeffrey Epstein was found in the fetal position in his jail cell with marks on his neck. Nobody is sure what happened here: Some think he might've tried to kill himself, others think he got his ass kicked by another inmate (an alleged dirty cop/murderer/coke dealer), and there's a third group who think Epstein was trying to get transferred out of his cramped cell into a comfy hospital bed.

If you hate Twitter's shitty new web layout, I found a blog post that'll tell you how to go back to the older, less shitty layout. Since Twitter has always been a #FailWhale, it's not a permanent fix, but there are other fixes out there (for Firefox users).

Samantha Bee wondered why the hell we spent seven hours watching a depressed wall of paint dry when it's pretty goddamn obvious Trump obstructed justice; showed how you too can get away with election fuckery (just like Trump and the Russians!) in 2020; and sent Mike Rubens to the southern border for Fiesta Protesta and found some bronies ferrying taco trucks across the border.

How To Get Away With Widespread Election Interference...Again! | Full Frontal on TBS youtu.be

And here's your morning Nice Time: RIVER OTTERS!

Orphaned river otters meet for the first time www.youtube.com

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Dominic Gwinn

Dominic is a broke journalist in Chicago. You can find him in a dirty bar talking to weirdos, or in a gutter taking photos.

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