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Daily Reads: Trump’s Data Guy Tried to Enlist Assange to Hunt Clinton Emails

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

Trump's Data Guy Tried to Enlist Assange to Hunt Clinton Emails

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Competing Russia narratives –> Business Insider’s Natasha Bertrand reports that “Trump’s campaign team scrambled Wednesday to distance themselves from the data mining and analysis company Cambridge Analytica, whose CEO reportedly reached out to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange during the presidential campaign to offer help in finding Hillary Clinton’s ‘missing’ emails.”

Meanwhile, Republicans are playing up their own angle on the Russia story. The Washington Post reported earlier this week that the Clinton campaign and the DNC helped fund the opposition research firm Fusion GPS, which commissioned British spy Christopher Steele to investigate Trump’s relationship with Russia. The result was the famed, salacious “dossier.” But this news wasn’t new: The fact that both Democrats and anti-Trump Republicans funded Fusion GPS’s work has been known for months.

But Republicans are spinning the not-new news as a scandal, writes Nancy Tourneau at Washington Monthly. Trump and his allies in the conservative media think they’ve turned the Russia “hoax” around on Democrats, Tourneau says. That story, along with House Republicans launching a probe into the recently resurrected conspiracy theory about the Clinton Foundation and a sale of uranium to Russia, “is all a planned attempt to discredit the results of the Mueller investigation.”

About that uranium story: The Hill, in a report last week, recycled Trump campaign talking points in writing about a deal that granted Russia control of a fifth of the US’ uranium. The deal had to be approved by Hillary Clinton, and was. At the same time, Russia was making donations to the Clinton Foundation. But The Hill’s report is becoming the subject of some media criticism. The Washington Post’s Erik Wemple calls the story by John Solomon, whom Media Matters once described as “a frequent purveyor of conservative misinformation,” “flimsy,” but says that it landed in DC with maximal impact, sparking new congressional investigations.

Civil war –> On Wednesday, “a ­super PAC aligned with [Mitch] McConnell (R-KY) revealed plans to attack [Steve] Bannon personally as it works to protect GOP incumbents facing uphill primary fights,” report David Weigel, Michael Scherer and Robert Costa for The Washington Post.

Lachlan Markay, Asawin Suebsaeng and Sam Stein report for The Daily Beast that, “in the escalating war within the Republican Party, there is one fact that both sides increasingly agree on: The forces being ushered by Steve Bannon are currently winning.”

Front page of the internet –> “Reddit is purging Nazi, white supremacist and other hate-based groups from its site as part of a new policy change announced Wednesday that targets and bans certain violent material,” according to Brianna Sacks at Buzzfeed.

Flying while black –> Citing a number of incidents in which black passengers were mistreated while flying American Airlines, the NAACP has issued a travel advisory warning that choosing the airline could “subject [African-Americans] to disrespectful, discriminatory or unsafe conditions.” Slate’s Molly Olmstead says the advisory will remain in effect until American meets with the civil rights group and addresses their concerns.

Trauma –> Beatriz Alvarado reports for the Corpus Christi Caller-Times that “A 10-year-old girl with cerebral palsy who had gall bladder surgery at Driscoll Children’s Hospital is under threat of deportation after crossing a Customs and Border Protection checkpoint to get to Corpus Christi for the surgery.”

The risks are big, and they’re rising” –> A new report from the General Accounting Office (GAO) “cited a range of research concluding that the costs of worsening droughts, floods, wildfires, heat waves and storms will run into hundreds of billions of dollars,” writes Georgina Gustin at Inside Climate News. But according to the report, Washington “does not have government-wide strategic planning efforts in place to help set clear priorities for managing significant climate risks before they become federal fiscal exposures.”

Make America Great Again –> At Mother Jones, Noah Lanard looks at a new study which finds that Trump’s tax plan would give a huge windfall to foreign shareholders in the US stock exchanges — “three times the amount… [that] middle-income Americans would save per year under” the plan.

Dreams are for RINOs –> We mentioned earlier this week that Senate Republicans were quietly drafting a bill that would protect the Dreamers from deportation. But the hardliners in the House “Freedom Caucus” are “warning Speaker Paul Ryan and Republican leaders not to add deportation protections for millions of young immigrants living here illegally to a year-end spending bill,” according to the AP’s Kevin Freking.

When the Government Orders You to Burn Your Crops” –>At In These Times, Kimberley Brown looks at some of the poorest and most desperate victims of the war on drugs: Colombia’s rural farmers.

Red flags” –> Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s longtime business lawyer, sold four Manhattan properties for millions more than they were worth to four different limited liability companies managed by the same lawyer. Peter Stone and Greg Gordon report for McClatchy that such transactions raise a red flag for money laundering investigators.

#HerToo –> Five women have accused journalist Mark Halperin of sexually harassing or assaulting them. Oliver Darcy has that story for CNN.

And a second actress has accused George H.W. Bush of groping her during a photo-op. At Deadspin, David McKenna writes that “rumors about Bush groping actresses in this manner have been circulating for a while.”

The oldest-known tsunami victim in the world“–> The BBC reports that scientists have determined that a skull unearthed in Papua New Guinea in 1929 belonged to a victim of a tsunami that struck the area around 6,000 years ago.

Daily Reads was compiled by BillMoyers.com staff and edited by Kristin Miller.



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