Russia's Putin: Top Goal for Journalists Is 'Do Not Offend' (US News & World Report link): MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin says the most important principle for journalists is to avoid upsetting those featured in their articles and television broadcasts. Journalists should ensure their work "won't be offensive to those about whom they do their reports," Putin said Saturday, according to the TASS news agency.
The Russian leader made the comments while talking to a child interested in working in journalism at a summer camp in Crimea, the southern Ukrainian region that Russia annexed in 2014.
The number of independent media outlets in Russia has fallen drastically under Putin and there have been several murders of high-profile journalists.
The journalists' group Reporters Without Borders placed Russia 148th in its ranking of world press freedoms published this year.
It’s Now Illegal to Protest Against Trump, It Violates His “First Amendment Right” (Blue Dot Daily link): Donald Trump has never been a champion of civil rights, and in fact, several people in his administration (we’re looking at you, Mr. Attorney General) have actively worked to oppress civil rights. Now, one of the President’s attorneys argued in court last week that it is actually illegal for people to protest against the President.
The filing argues that citizens “have no right” to “express dissenting views” at Trump rallies, because it violates the President’s first amendment rights. The lawyers argue that the protesters “obviously interfered with the Trump campaign’s First Amendment right vigorously expressing their disdain for Mr. Trump,” which included chanting, holding up pictures of Trump’s face on the body of a pig and other messages.
This filing is in response to a judge ruling that Trump was responsible for inciting violence at a 2016 Louisville, KY rally in which three protesters were violently ejected from the venue after Trump riled the crowd up against them.
Putin Personally Ordered Campaign Interference to Help Trump (Mother Jones link): Early last August, an envelope with extraordinary handling restrictions arrived at the White House….Inside was an intelligence bombshell, a report drawn from sourcing deep inside the Russian government that detailed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s direct involvement in a cyber campaign to disrupt and discredit the U.S. presidential race.
But it went further. The intelligence captured Putin’s specific instructions on the operation’s audacious objectives — defeat or at least damage the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, and help elect her opponent, Donald Trump.
….The White House turned to Congress for help….But Republicans resisted, arguing that to warn the public that the election was under attack would further Russia’s aim of sapping confidence in the system.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) went further, officials said, voicing skepticism that the underlying intelligence truly supported the White House’s claims. Through a spokeswoman, McConnell declined to comment, citing the secrecy of that meeting.
Key Democrats were stunned by the GOP response and exasperated that the White House seemed willing to let Republican opposition block any pre-election move.
Nearly a year later, further reporting and testimony from current and former intelligence officials have painted a portrait of Russia’s election interference as a multifaceted, well-planned, and coordinated campaign aimed at undermining the backbone of American democracy: free and fair elections.
Now, as FBI special counsel Robert Mueller and congressional intelligence committees continue to investigate Russia's election interference, evidence is emerging that the hacking and disinformation campaign waged at the direction of Russian President Vladimir Putin took at least four separate but related paths.
Meet the all-star team of lawyers Robert Mueller has assembled for the Trump-Russia investigation (Business Insider link): As the investigation into the Trump campaign's possible ties to Russia gains traction, special counsel Robert Mueller has begun quietly assembling a formidable team of top lawyers and investigators.
Mueller has so far hired 12 people and intends to bring on more, his spokesman Peter Carr told The New York Times.
Only a handful have been named publicly so far, but legal experts and fellow lawyers who have spoken to media in recent days lauded the new hires as a powerhouse team of experienced professionals with sterling credentials who rank among the best in their field.
"That is a great, great team of complete professionals," Kenneth Starr, the former independent counsel who investigated President Bill Clinton, told ABC News.
The members of Mueller's team who've been named have a cumulative 37 years of experience at the FBI and 85 years at the Department of Justice, The Washington Post reported on Friday.
Half of Americans want Democrats to control Congress as Trump struggles, poll shows (CNBC link): As President Donald Trump continues to struggle, Democrats have moved into a stronger position to challenge Republicans for control of Congress next year, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.
The survey shows that just 40 percent of Americans approve of Trump's job performance, while 55 percent disapprove. That's virtually unchanged since last month.
At the same time, Americans now say by 50 percent to 42 percent they want Democrats to control Congress after the 2018 mid-term elections. That's the largest lead either party has held on that generic ballot question in the NBC/WSJ poll since 2013, and the first time either party reached 50 percent on that question since 2008.