A version of this article first appeared in the “Reliable Sources” newsletter. You can sign up for free right here.
President Trump says SO much, every day, that people sometimes suffer from Trump overload. Others choose their words more carefully, in the hopes that they’ll have more impact — and I think that’s what Hillary Clinton did on Thursday. She wrote a rare-for-her op-ed for the Washington Post about the Mueller report, saying it “documents a serious crime against the American people.” Hours later, it’s the most-read thing on the Post’s website.
Clinton said the 2016 election was “corrupted” by Russia — an assault “bigger than politics” — and “what our country needs now is clear-eyed patriotism, not reflexive partisanship.” Citing Watergate as a precedent, she said “televised hearings added to the factual record and, crucially, helped the public understand the facts in a way that no dense legal report could. Similar hearings with Mueller, former White House counsel Donald McGahn and other key witnesses could do the same today.”
Former Nixon W.H. counsel John Dean, on “AC360,” said “I do agree with her. You have to educate the public. That’s what happened during Watergate. That’s what she’s suggesting should happen again. And that’s the only way to really, politically, move forward — is to have an informed electorate. They are not today.”
TIME’s Abigail Abrams writes: “Constitutional experts say that President Donald Trump got a fundamental fact about impeachment wrong.” He tweeted on Wednesday that “if the partisan Dems ever tried to Impeach, I would first head to the U.S. Supreme Court.”
“In fact,” Abrams wrote, “the framers of the Constitution debated whether presidential impeachments should be handled before the Supreme Court, before deciding that was a bad idea for four main reasons.”
Politico’s Katie Galioto added: “The Supreme Court ruled unanimously in 1993 that authority for impeachment trials resides in Congress and ‘nowhere else.’” I don’t know, maybe these sorts of basic constitutional screw-ups by the president should be big stories, not shrugged off?
An “ongoing threat”
Wednesday began with lots and lots of Trump tweets… and the NYT’s scoop about Kirstjen Nielsen being told by Mick Mulvaney not to bring up Russian meddling with the president.
“You know,” Jake Tapper said later in the day, “he still seems pretty agitated for a guy claiming at the beginning of the week he’s never been happier or more content.” Indeed, the tweets keep coming… But the reporting keeps coming too…
At 4 p.m.ET, Tapper shared new reporting about the “ongoing threat” of election interference from Russia. He asked: “Why haven’t there been more than a couple senior-levels principals meeting to coordinate this response — government-wide — and why is President Trump so willing to use his bully pulpit to attack cable news anchors or ‘SNL’ comedians? Why is he so unwilling to do so on this issue related to his job, related to national security?”
FOR THE RECORD, PART ONE
– A must-read by Charles V. Bagli: “As Durst murder case goes forward, HBO’s film will also be on trial…” (NYT)
– Strangest story of the day: Tom Arnold called Michael Cohen, recorded the call, and gave the tape to the Journal… (WSJ)
– Shares in AT&T (CNN’s parent) fell 4% on Wednesday after its earnings report showed that its “pay-television subscriber base continued to erode during the first quarter…” (WSJ)
– More: “Some analysts” say “the slump at DirecTV Now is another sign that the holy grail of cheap, a la carte television remains as elusive as ever, and that the promise of cord-cutting has yet to materialize for consumers…” (WaPo)
– Just announced: Chris Cuomo and Don Lemon are talking their nightly handoff to the stage… They’ll be together at the 92Y on June 9… (92Y)
What Holzhauer is doing right
“James Holzhauer has dominated ‘Jeopardy!’ like no one else since the current version of the television game show premiered in 1984,” the NYT’sVictor Mather writes. He’s “second on the all-time list behind the legendaryKen Jennings. And the remarkable thing is that Holzhauer, a 34-year-old professional sports bettor from Las Vegas, has reached that mark in just 15 games; Jennings’s $2.5 million came in 74 games.” Here’s what Mather asked him about his “extraordinary strategy…”
>> Holzhauer summed up his strategy to The Atlantic’s Joe Pinsker this way: “Play fast, build a stack, bet big, and hope for the best.”
>> 538’s Oliver Roeder says Holzhauer has “taken the game to its logical conclusion…”
The Markup is in limbo
The Markup’s EIC Julia Angwin was fired on Monday… five of the startup’s seven editorial staffers resigned on Tuesday… and now this: On Wednesday afternoon, Craig Newmark and the other funders of the site said they are “taking steps” to “reassess our support” for the startup. In response, The Markup’s remaining leaders Sue Gardner and Jeff Larson said “we respect their statement and their need to review this situation, and we will support them in any way. We are hard at work continuing to build The Markup, and believe deeply in this mission as do our funders.” Full story here…
Julia Angwin on the “Reliable” podcast
“I want this team and I want this mission, and I want to build this,” Angwin told me on Wednesday. “I don’t quite know the mechanics of how this works, but I can tell you my vision is exactly the same.” She said she hopes that Newmark “would choose to fund us in some other way, or to put us back in place at The Markup. Or maybe another funder comes forward. But I didn’t give up the best job in journalism to just give up on this dream.”
Facebook prepares to pay up
Facebook “exceeded revenue expectations and matched estimates for its daily active user growth,” per CNBC. But most headlines, rightfully so, were about this massive fine. The company expects that an ongoing investigation by the FTC “could result in fines ranging from $3 billion to $5 billion,” CNN’s Seth Fiegerman wrote.
Still, the company’s stock popped in after-hours trading. Fiegerman: “The stock move may be a sign investors feel relief that Facebook is close to putting the FTC investigation behind it — and that the settlement isn’t even worse.”
FOR THE RECORD, PART TWO
By Katie Pellico:
– “A priest received a standing ovation at Lyra McKee’s funeral when he asked why it took her death to unite politicians…” (BBC)
– The AP is joining RNF, RNS and The Conversation in a new initiative to “expand religion news reporting in the U.S. and around the world…” (RNS)
– A notable new report by Reuters: “Facebook’s flood of languages leave it struggling to monitor content…” (Reuters)
– Tortoise and the Hare, tech edition: Why “Microsoft is winning the techlash.” Axios’ Kim Hart explains how the OG tech giant “sidestepped the mistakes made by its younger, brasher Big Tech brethren…” (Axios)
The Intercept, “the loudest voice attacking Democrats from the left”
In this I-wish-I’d-written-it piece for Politico, Steven Perlberg describes The Intercept’s “sharp turn into party politics.” As the Democratic party “grapples with fractures emerging in its coalition, the Intercept is a crowbar working those fractures apart, probing hard at fault lines,” he writes. But “will the site’s belligerent strategy be effective, or will it handicap the only Democrats who have a serious chance of capturing the White House?” Asked another way: Is the Intercept “undermining its own side?” Read on…
Bila’s promotion at Fox
“Former The View panelist Jedediah Bila, who has filled in on ‘Fox & Friends Weekend’ since returning to the cable news network as a contributor, has been named a permanent co-host of the weekend edition,” Deadline’s Lisa de Moraes writes. “She debuts in that capacity this coming Saturday, joining co-host Pete Hegseth and a rotating third co-host.” Ed Henry and Griff Jenkinsare often in the rotation…
Correction: A previous version of this article misstated the month in which Chris Cuomo and Don Lemon will speak at 92Y.