What We're Reading

Daily Reads: Democrats Weigh Holding Up FBI Pick Over Russia Investigation; Federal Agencies Hide Data They Don’t Like

A roundup of stories we're reading at BillMoyers.com HQ...

Daily Reads: Democrats Weigh Holding Up FBI Pick

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) arrives for a news conference at the Capitol following the firing of Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

We produce this news digest every weekday. You can sign up to receive these updates as an email newsletter each morning.



Democrats consider taking a stand on FBI vacancy –> Sen. Chuck Schumer told CNN on Sunday that he would support blocking any appointee for FBI director until the Department of Justice appoints a special prosecutor for the Russia investigation. “I think there are a lot of Democrats who feel that way,” he said on State of the Union. “We’ll have to discuss it as a caucus, but I would support that move.”

Comey, meanwhile, wants to testify in public and under oath, Jon Queally reports for Common Dreams. He did, however, decline an invitation from the Senate to testify behind closed doors.

At The Baffler, historian Rick Perlstein explores where this storyline overlaps with the oft-invoked Watergate scandal, and where it doesn’t. Importantly, he writes, in the mid-1970s, “Washington had a functioning civic culture, in which a critical mass of members of both parties proved willing to honor their oaths of office to uphold the Constitution. Now, however, we do not.”

Stop focusing on “collusion” –> At the JustSecurity blog, Julian Sanchez writes that those following the Russian investigation would do well to expand their expectations beyond discovering “collusion” between the Trump campaign and the Russians. “It’s hard to see why it would be in Russia’s interest to loop the Trump campaign in on their interference campaign,” he writes. The more fixated Trump’s foes are on collusion, “the easier it becomes to sweep any other significant findings under the rug once the investigation concludes.”

SCOTUS won’t save North Carolina law –> The Supreme Court announced this morning that it would not hear a challenge to a lower court ruling that killed North Carolina’s voter-ID law. The lower court ruled that the GOP-backed law was designed to “target African-Americans with almost surgical precision.”

Toxin is toxic –> Earlier this year, Trump’s EPA, under lobbyist pressure, reversed course and decided not to ban a toxic chemical called chlorpyrifos for use as a pesticide. The chemical has been linked to autism and ADHD — and, earlier this week, 50 farmworkers outside of Bakersfield, California were poisoned by the substance, Tom Philpott reports for Mother Jones.

It’s not just climate data –> Across the board, the Trump administration is hiding information it finds inconvenient, Juliet Eilperin writes for The Washington Post. Among the numbers removed from public view are disclosures about workplace violations, energy efficiency and animal welfare abuses.

Not a scientist –> The USDA handles some important scientific topics for the government, including studies on climate change and nutrition. Accordingly, the Department’s head is supposed to be its “chief scientist,” according to the 2008 Farm Bill, and be chosen “from among distinguished scientists with specialized or significant experience in agricultural research, education, and economics.” Instead, Jessica Huseman reports for ProPublica, Trump has his eye on a conservative talk radio host who supported his campaign and who has never taken a graduate-level course in science and openly questions climate change.

The president’s news diet –> Trump’s advisers slip him news articles — sometimes secretly, to boost their own position or to lobby for something they want to get done. Problem is, these stories are sometimes fake. “A news story tucked into Trump’s hands at the right moment can torpedo an appointment or redirect the president’s entire agenda,” Shane Goldmacher reports for Politico. One example: Deputy National Security Adviser K.T. McFarland slipped Trump a fake TIME magazine cover from the 1970s warning of a coming ice age and another from 2008 about surviving global warming. Trump “quickly got lathered up about the media’s hypocrisy,” Goldmacher writes, and his staff had to intervene before he started tweeting.

Congressman bullies voter over anti-Trump activism –> New Jersey Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, a Republican, sent a letter to the board member of a local bank, warning him that a senior vice president at his bank was a member of an anti-Trump, pro-Democrat group, NJ 11th for Change. The employee was interrogated by her boss over her involvement in the group and eventually resigned.

Precious bodily fluids –> This headline in The Washington Post says a lot: “Trump thinks that exercising too much uses up the body’s ‘finite’ energy.”


Daily Reads was compiled by John Light and edited by Kristin Miller.



We produce this news digest every weekday. You can sign up to receive these updates as an email.