Morning Reads

Good morning — and sorry it’s Monday!

Forty years ago, a month after Nixon’s resignation, President Gerald Ford granted his predecessor “a full, free, and absolute” pardon for any crimes committed in office. The uproar was immediate; Ford’s popularity plummeted from 71 to 49 percent, and many believe the pardon was a factor in Ford’s 1976 election defeat.

Democracy in danger –> Sens. Tom Udall (D-NM) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) argue in Politico that the GOP’s assault on voting rights, combined with the flood of dark money unleashed by the Supreme Court, threaten our democratic system of government. “No single issue is more important to the needs of average Americans,” they write. ALSO: Check out “How Corrupt Are Our Politics?,” David Cole’s review of Zephyr Teachout’s book on the history of corruption in America, in the NYRB.

Wiped out” –> Reuters reports that US warplanes destroyed a significant force of ISIS fighters as they attempted to gain control of Iraq’s strategic Haditha dam. (Via The Guardian.)

Friday night document dump –> Ellen Nakashima reports for WaPo that on Friday night, when nobody was paying attention, the Justice Department released two previously undisclosed memos that offered “the fullest public airing to date of the Bush administration’s legal justification for the warrantless wiretapping of Americans’ phone calls and e-mails.”

A muscular arm of foreign governments’ lobbying in Washington” –> Eric Lipton, Brooke Williams and Nicholas Confessore report for the NYT that many of the most prominent think-tanks in DC “have received tens of millions of dollars from foreign governments in recent years while pushing United States government officials to adopt policies that often reflect the donors’ priorities.”

More witnesses emerge –> Two workers who had no connection to Michael Brown, Darren Wilson or the town of Ferguson witnessed most of the incident, and their account backs up other witnesses who said Brown wasn’t threatening Wilson when he fired the fatal shots. Jeremy Kohler has the details at The St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

If they reported every spill, this whole freaking industry would shut down” –> Laura Gottesdiener reports for AJA that North Dakota farmers are facing widespread contamination of once-fertile land resulting from wastewater produced by the state’s oil boom.

Politics over policy –> Immigrant rights activists are furious that the White House will delay until after the midterms an executive order reducing the number of deportations of undocumented workers. At TNR, Jonathan Cohn explains the political calculus behind the move.

Will they let facts get in the way? –> At USA Today, Gregory Korte looks at a report issued by a Senate subcommittee on Friday which “found no evidence of IRS political bias in selecting 501(c)(4) applications for heightened review, as distinguished from using poor judgment in crafting the selection criteria.”

Independence? –> With a potentially historic referendum less than two weeks away, Scottish independence is leading in an opinion poll for the first time, and the British pound is down as a result. At The Telegraph, Matthew Holehouse looks at the nuts and bolts of how the Scots might separate from the UK and create a new state if separatists end up with the votes.

Jack the Ripper revealed? –> A forensic scientist and an amateur sleuth (“with a book to sell”) claim to have proven the identity of Jack the Ripper based on DNA evidence. Steve Connor, The Independent’s science editor, says it will require a lot of additional work to verify the claim.

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