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“It’s been 18 months since Robert Mueller took over the Russia investigation, and still nobody really knows what he’ll do next. The Daily Beast reported on Thursday morning that the special counsel’s inquiry is entering a new phase focused on influence from Middle Eastern countries. Later that evening, The Washington Post reported that final sentencing for some of Mueller’s cooperating witnesses could indicate his investigation is nearing the end. Some have even speculated that the lack of charges against the Trump campaign itself may mean he hasn’t found anything worth charging.
“Investigators certainly know more than they’re saying—they often repeat as much in court appearances and documents in their various cases,” NPR’s Philip Ewing wrote on Saturday. “But an ostensible conspiracy between Trump’s campaign and the Russians who attacked the election is nowhere near close to being proven.” I’ve argued previously that what’s publicly available so far points toward soft collusion at a minimum: a mutually acknowledged confluence of interests between Trump and Moscow. At the same time, federal investigators have yet to formally allege hard collusion—an explicit quid pro quo between the two sides.
This tension is a staple of the Russia investigation coverage. According to press reports in recent months, Mueller’s inquiry has been at once expanding and narrowing, gaining steam and losing momentum, intensifying and “wrapping up.” Mueller himself has kept virtually silent about where his investigation is headed next or what form its conclusion will take, making him the most mysterious man in Washington. Unless he’s prematurely ousted by the president, the American people won’t find out what the special counsel is truly up to until it’s all over.”
JJ Editor's Picks
"Not even what one might think of as the most basic tenet of any religion, a belief in the existence of God, is a prerequisite: Agnosticism is a key principle of at least one major school of Hindu philosophy."
"The presidency of any particular incumbent is relatively short... but the precedential consequences of impeaching a president without complying with the specific provisions of the Constitution “as it was written” are enduring."
"After news that a judge allegedly provided sexual favors to Bar Association president Efi Nave in exchange for her appointment, several politicians said in their responses that the Judicial Selection Committee needed to be the “Holy of Holies.”"
"Two new documentaries take on Billy McFarland and his disastrous music festival... the secret villain of this story all along: the subtle menace of social media marketing."
"Eating out, ordering in. Throw in a bagel here, a coffee there, and it all adds up. "It's definitely a challenge for people my age to save on food.""
"Popular music is shrinking. From 2013 to 2018, the average song on the Billboard Hot 100 fell from 3 minutes and 50 seconds to about 3 minutes and 30 seconds. "
"Here in the good old U.S. of A, the third annual Women's March planned for Jan. 19 is in serious trouble, thanks to irreconcilable political disagreements."
"Nature, however, with its endless cycles of death and rebirth, fascinated her. Walking in the woods, she developed a method that has become the hallmark of her poetry, taking notice simply of whatever happens to present itself."
"Modern parents haven’t stopped playing favorites; they’ve just stopped doing it openly. Though few parents today will admit they have a favorite child, studies indicate that about two-thirds of parents do."
"The first science-based diet that tackles both the poor food eaten by billions of people and averts global environmental catastrophe has been devised."
"Sphen and Magic looked like they would make great, diligent, careful egg-warming parents. They made the biggest nest, and they sat on it constantly."
"How YMHAs, followed by synagogue-centers, and finally JCCs have tried—in different ways—to balance Judaism and Jewishness, by bringing Jews together in intellectual, spiritual, and physical pursuits"