“Man’s capacity for justice makes democracy possible, but man’s inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary.” Reinhold Niebuhr, via James Comey 10/30/2017
Hey, so! It’s closing in on 12 weeks since my last update to this blog – grad school steals all my time, what can I say – but as always EVERYTHING KEEPS HAPPENING. SO MUCH IS HAPPENING, AHHHHH.
I’m throwing up this post tonight because something happened today that warrants extra attention – 538 called it a “political emergency,” and both 538 and Lawfare have posted podcasts unpacking it.
What happened? In short, Three former Trump campaign officials [were] charged by special counsel (Washington Post):
Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III on Monday revealed charges against three former Trump campaign officials — including onetime campaign chairman Paul Manafort — marking the first criminal allegations to come from probes into possible Russian influence in U.S. political affairs.
The charges are striking for their breadth, touching all levels of the Trump campaign and exploring possible personal financial wrongdoing by those involved, as well as what appeared to be a concerted effort by one campaign official to arrange a meeting with Russian officials.
One of the three charged, former Trump foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos, admitted to making a false statement to FBI investigators who asked about his contacts with foreigners claiming to have high-level Russian connections.
Manafort and longtime business partner Rick Gates, meanwhile, were charged in a 12-count indictment with conspiracy to launder money, making false statements and other charges in connection with their work advising a Russia-friendly political party in Ukraine.
What does this mean? How should we interpret this? There’s been about a million think pieces published today talking about Mueller’s investigation; I’ve collected some resources here that I feel are trustworthy and useful in cutting through the noise.
Side note: I’ve been using twitter a lot recently (you can find me at @emilythinking) as a source for locating news and finding and following the reporters, analysts, policy makers and politicians who I find helpful, thoughtful, smart, and trustworthy. In that vein, let me suggest a few follows who have good commentary on what happened today.
Renato Mariotti is a former Assistant U.S. Attorney and candidate for Illinois Attorney General. He gives legal commentary for multiple news outlets, both print and television, and does a great job of breaking down the complexity of finance-related law for the average layperson. Some of his useful threads from today, explaining how he interpreted the breaking news about Manafort and the Mueller investigation, are here, here, here, and here.
If you are looking for twitter accounts focused on current events, politics, the Trump/Russia investigation, or law, other people I follow and recommend [with the caveat that I am not endorsing any viewpoints, nor is this an exhaustive list] include:
- @Lawfareblog: “The web’s leading multimedia resource on national security law, published in cooperation with the Brookings Institution.”
- @Benjaminwittes: “Senior Fellow at Brookings. Editor in Chief: Lawfare (@lawfareblog).”
- @Susan_Hennessey: “Lawfare Managing Editor, Brookings Fellow, Former IC attorney.”
- @qjurecic: “Usually: Associate editor @lawfareblog; research analyst @BrookingsGov. Currently: Writing for @WashingtonPost editorial board.”
- @SunFoundation: “We are a national, nonpartisan nonprofit organization that advocates for open government.”
- @ProPublica: “Pursuing stories with moral force.”
- @CREWcrew: “Crew uses high-impact legal actions to target government officials who sacrifice the common good to special interests.”
- @PolitiFact: “Home of the Truth-O-Meter and independent fact-checking.”
- @waltshaub: Former Director, US Office of Gov’t Ethics. Personal account.”
- @PreetBharara: “Patriotic American & proud immigrant. Movie buff…Banned by Putin, fired by Trump. Fmr US Atty SDNY.”
- @JoyAnnReid: “’Ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have.’ -James Baldwin #AMJoy”
- @Evan_McMullin: “Co-founder of @StandUpRepublic and @StandUpIdeas with @mindyfinn. Former independent presidential candidate, CIA, House GOP policy.”
- @davidfrum: “Senior Editor, The Atlantic. Author, “Trumpocracy: The Corruption of the American Republic” (HarperCollins, Jan. 2018)”
- (…….you can find lots more interesting accounts in my “following” list.)
Below, I have assembled a few podcasts and a slew of articles related to todays revelations. I don’t have time to pull quotes from all the articles but I really, really recommend definitely at least skimming through the Lawfare articles.
- 538: “Mueller’s First Strike”
- The Lawfare Podcast: “Special Edition: Indictment Day”
- I’m also including an older episode of “Stay Tuned With Preet” because of this thread by Lawfare editor Benjamin Wittes [timestamp – 11:35-19:00 minutes]:
- The Atlantic
- Just Security
That’s all for now…keep your eyes open, though, I’m sure there will be more soon. x___x