Vox Sentences: A Band-Aid for a 35-day wound

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Mueller indicts Roger Stone; Trump allows the government to temporarily reopen.


It’s indictment Friday for Roger Stone

 Alex Wong/Getty Images
  • Former Trump adviser Roger Stone was indicted Friday by the FBI in relation to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the 2016 election. Stone was charged on seven counts, including obstruction of justice, making false statements, and witness tampering. [Vox / Andrew Prokop]
  • How did this happen? Back in 2016, Democrats’ emails were hacked by an internet persona known as “Guccifer 2.0” and published by WikiLeaks. After the hack, a Trump campaign official asked Stone if he knew whether more emails were coming, or if WikiLeaks had more damaging information available. [NYT / Mark Mazzetti, Eileen Sullivan, and Maggie Haberman]
  • The indictment claims not that Stone colluded during the campaign, but that he made five false statements during his testimony to the House Intelligence Committee in 2017. In court, Stone working with WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange, as well as Guccifer 2.0. [Vox / Andrew Prokop]
  • Stone testified that radio host Randy Credico had been an “intermediary” between himself and Assange. According to the indictment, he used a Godfather reference and even threatened to steal Credico’s dog if Credico didn’t lie on Stone’s behalf. [Vox / Jen Kirby]
  • Stone claims he didn’t know WikiLeaks was about to release the DNC emails, but his tweets leading up to the release suggest otherwise. He tweeted that a “trove” of damaging information about Clinton was coming and even praised Assange. After the hack, he wrote an article for Breitbart claiming Russia probably wasn’t responsible. [Vox / Andrew Prokop]
  • The indictment also contains emails between Stone and Trump campaign leader Steve Bannon, in which Stone says damaging information about Clinton was coming. [NYT / Mark Mazzetti, Eileen Sullivan, and Maggie Haberman]
  • Publishing the leaks may have been a way to distract audiences from bad press about Trump and focus voters on hating Clinton. For example, leaks about Clinton’s campaign chair John Podesta were released on the same day as the Access Hollywood tape in which Trump can be heard bragging about sexually assaulting women. [NYT / Mark Mazzetti, Eileen Sullivan, and Maggie Haberman]
  • White House press secretary Sarah Sanders denied in a press conference today that Trump ever tried to contact WikiLeaks via Stone. Trump’s personal lawyer also argued that the indictment is about Stone lying to the House Committee, not colluding during the campaign. [Politico / Darren Samuelsohn, Josh Gerstein, Marc Caputo, and Caitlin Oprysko]
  • One big question now is the identity of the senior Trump official who directed Stone to find out about damaging information. There could be a reason Mueller did not name this person in the indictment, or their identity may still be unknown. [New Yorker / Adam Davidson]

The government is about to reopen — for now

  • President Trump announced he will sign a bill to reopen the government for the next three weeks and pay the 800,000 federal employees who have been furloughed or working without pay for 35 days. [Politico / Andrew Restuccia, Burgess Everett, and Heather Caygle]
  • Trump said Democrats and Republicans will continue drafting a border security agreement until February 21, at which point he will consider closing the government again if the resolution does not contain funding for a wall on the US-Mexico border. [Vox / Li Zhou]
  • Here’s what’s in Trump’s three-week spending bill: no funding for a wall, funding for the agencies that are currently closed in order to reopen the government, and back pay for furloughed federal employees or workers who have been on the job without pay. Congress still needs to pass this temporary spending bill. [NPR / Jessica Taylor]
  • Trump was forced to capitulate when high absences of air traffic controllers, who are federal employees, caused the Federal Aviation Administration to delay and cancel flights citing safety concerns. [NYT / Patrick McGeehan]
  • At least 800,000 federal employees and contractors have missed two consecutive paychecks. A bill the Senate previously signed promising back pay will now finally go into effect — but individual agencies and companies need to agree to an adjusted pay schedule. [Vox / Dylan Scott]

Miscellaneous

  • Stone, Cohen, Flynn … you’ve heard their names. Here’s everyone who’s been charged so far in the Mueller investigation. [NYT]
  • Angola has decriminalized same-sex relationships. This is the first criminal code the country has adopted since becoming independent in 1975. [Bustle / Mehreen Kasana]
  • Add the guacamole: With a new CEO and menu items, Chipotle is revamping its image. [Time / Katy Steinmetz]
  • Are robots going to take all our jobs? Not exactly — but in the “AI era,” automated jobs will likely have a disproportionate impact on rural areas. [CityLab / Tanvi Misra]
  • People in China can access the search engine Bing again, but Microsoft still isn’t sure why its product was blocked from internet users in the first place. [WSJ / Yoko Kubota]

Verbatim

“I am a firm believer in truth and speaking out the truth. I believe in adding a voice to the voiceless, and there are times that this, of course, will contradict the policies of the powers that be. That’s a big part of it.” [Iranian TV anchor Marzieh Hashemi in an interview with the Associated Press concerning her imprisonment by the US government]


Watch this: What Angela Merkel’s exit means for Germany — and Europe

The European Union is about to lose one of its last anti-populist voices. [YouTube / Danush Parvaneh and Sam Ellis]


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