Well isn’t that special


Thursday, May 18, 2017
Here’s a travel option for you. Once-a-week passenger ferry service now links Russia and North Korea. Here’s what else you need to know to
Get Up to Speed and Out the Door.

By Doug Criss.

1. White House

Well, now it’s serious. The Justice Department appointed ex-FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel to run the feds’ investigation into Russia’s interference into last year’s election — and that includes possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russians.

So who’s Robert Mueller? Glad you asked. He’s the second-longest-serving FBI director in history (under Bush and Obama), a former US attorney who is widely respected, considered nonpartisan and is an incredibly talented investigator. His appointment was widely praised on both sides of the aisle. CNN’s Chris Cillizza says Mueller’s appointment is important because, since he’s respected by Democrats and Republicans alike, his investigation might be the only one that has a prayer of being accepted by the nation.

The White House was blindsided. There was no heads-up from Justice that this was coming until about a half-hour before the news broke. President Trump put out a short statement (no tweets!) saying that the investigation would confirm that “there was no collusion” between his campaign and the Russians.

The markets don’t like all this drama. The Dow had its worst day since September, plummeting 373 points.

2. Tulsa police shooting

Tulsa police Officer Betty Shelby was found not guilty of first-degree manslaughter in the shooting death of Terence Crutcher. The jury deliberated for nine hours before announcing the verdict, which sparked protests outside the courtroom. A crowd yelled, “Bring her out!” and “No justice, no peace, no racist police!” Shelby, who is white, shot Crutcher, an unarmed black man, outside of his vehicle last year. The shooting was one of several police shootings of unarmed black men across the country in recent years that have heightened concerns about possible police misconduct.

3. Chelsea Manning

Chelsea Manning is a free woman. Manning, the ex-Army intelligence analyst behind the WikiLeaks scandal, was released from Fort Leavenworth. She had been serving a 35-year sentence for taking 750,000 pages worth of classified documents and videos and giving them to WikiLeaks. Her sentence was commuted by former President Obama before he left office in January. Manning — who came out as transgender while in prison — said she looks forward to living life as a woman outside the prison walls, where she had to conform to male standards of grooming. 

4. ICE deaths

For the second time in a week, a man in Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody has died. A 58-year-old Indian national died in an Atlanta hospital after being taken there after complaining about shortness of breath. On Monday, a 27-year-old apparently hanged himself while in solitary confinement in Georgia. Eight people have died in ICE custody since October. Immigrant rights activists are crying foul, but ICE says it’s “committed” to keeping those in its custody safe and healthy. President Trump has called for increasing detention as part of his crackdown on illegal immigration.

5. Brazil

Brazil seems to go from one presidential scandal to another. President Michel Temer is accused of bribery by one of Brazil’s biggest newspapers. O Globo reports that Temer paid hush money to an imprisoned former Senate colleague to keep quiet about a corruption investigation. Temer says it’s not true, but the newspaper says a meat producer has a recording of the President giving the OK for a bribe to the Senate colleague to “keep quiet.” Temer rose to the presidency last year after former President Dilma Rousseff was impeached, caught up in the same corruption probe.

This just in …

Chris Cornell, lead singer of Soundgarden, died last night. Cornell, 52, and the band were in Detroit for a show as part of a US tour.
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And the winner is …

Say congrats to D. Randal Dotson Sr. of Memphis, Tennessee. He was the first to correctly answer the trivia question from yesterday’s newsletter: Which of the Seven Dwarfs’ names comes last alphabetically? It’s Sneezy.

And finally …

What’d you say?
People from eight countries try to stump Siri, Amazon Echo and Google Home with their accents. (Click to view)
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