Robert Mueller is getting somewhere in Trump-Russia probe. Make sure he can finish the job. Congress, including 14 House Republicans from California, must make clear that special counsel Robert Mueller should be allowed to complete his inquiry without White House interference. California Republicans have been shamefully quiet as Donald Trump tries to to undermine Mueller by calling Russian interference in the 2016 election a hoax and the investigation a witch hunt.
Jack Ohman goes witch hunting with Robert Mueller and Trump. See who bagged what here.
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Andres Oppenheimer, Miami Herald: Surprisingly, support for capitalism in Latin America is on the rise. And what’s even more amazing, capitalism is most popular in countries where leftist leaders lash out against it on a daily basis. In theory, this could pave the way for a golden era for foreign and domestic investors in the region.
Dean Florez: Scientists shouldn’t shill for farm industry on animal welfare. While Proposition 2, which required more room for hens, passed overwhelmingly, there was a concerted disinformation campaign by the egg industry and other factory farm interests. They were aided by some UC Davis academics, and it looks like they will be part of the opposition to a new ballot measure.
Joaquin Arambula and Lenny Mendonca: We need to create a comprehensive policy agenda to lift people out of poverty and into the middle class. And that is what the California Economic Summit is taking on at its annual meeting this week in San Diego.
Erwin Chemerinsky: Three ways Congress could make laws against sexual harassment actually work.
Take a number: 126 million and 2,752
On the day that the first indictments in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation were revealed came more reports showing how deep and wide the Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election extended.
Facebook is expected to tell Congress Tuesday that as many as 126 million Americans were exposed to content produced by a Russian government-linked troll farm between June 2015 and August 2017, CNN reports. While Facebook doesn’t know how many actually read those posts, the total amounts to half the voting population. The operation spent $100,000 on 3,000 ads.
Also, Twitter will tell Congress it has found 2,752 accounts linked to that same Russian operation, up from 201 in September. The social media giants are under increasing pressure to monitor and control fake accounts and bots that are trying to influence U.S. politics, for good reason. – Foon Rhee, @foonrhee
Mercury News: Last week, Californians were again reminded that guns stolen from cops are repeatedly used to kill people — and that the Legislature has failed to take adequate steps to stop it.
Chicago Sun-Times: By announcing George Papadopoulos’ guilty plea on the same day, Mueller appeared to be sending a blunt message to Paul Manafort and others: Suspects are beginning to cooperate. They are “flipping” on other targets. Further indictments are coming. Cooperate now and cut your losses.
Philadelphia Inquirer: At this point in Mueller’s investigation, there are still more questions than answers. But with these first indictments and one guilty plea, that may soon change. Confidence that the former FBI director will eventually uncover the truth grew considerably with his actions Monday. That’s all the public wants — the truth.
Brian Dickerson, Detroit Free Press: What Republican lawmakers owe their country and constituents now is to assure that the orderly and disciplined investigation Mueller has conducted so far goes forward with a minimum of interference and intimidation from the White House.
Kansas City Star: Yes, we’re glad that after multiple allegations of sexual harassment at the Kansas Capitol and elsewhere in state politics, Kansas Democrats now seem to realize they have to get serious about sex crimes perpetrated or ignored by their own members and employees. But we’re not at all convinced that the training House Democrats will be getting next month is even a modest move in the right direction. No one needs training to tell him what constitutes sexual assault and harassment, or to tell him that predation is wrong.
Raleigh News & Observer: The settlement in the Volkswagen auto emissions scandal will provide North Carolina $92 million over 10 years to encourage the deployment of more zero- and low-emission vehicles. This should be an opportunity for a state with a lot of high-tech resources – including several engine manufacturers – to encourage innovations in engine design and wider use of electric vehicles. But instead the opportunity is stuck in a smoggy traffic jam in the General Assembly.
Charles M. Blow: I am a man. Six-foot-two, 200 lbs. Able-bodied, and physically fit. I move through the world with the privilege of never even considering the idea of being sexually assaulted or harassed.
David Brooks: Today, partisanship for many people is not about which party has the better policies or the better philosophy. These days, partisanship is often totalistic. People often use partisan identity to fill the void left when their other attachments wither away – religious, ethnic, communal and familial.
Michael Gerson: If President Trump wants to recruit Republicans into a defense of the shady political and business dealings of Paul Manafort and the rest of the president’s political circle – now exposed by federal indictment – it will be discrediting and humiliating. But if Trump’s goal is to escape a tightening legal investigation by firing special counsel Robert Mueller and issuing a string of self-protective pardons, Trump would be turning his authoritarian pose into authoritarian practice, removing an essential check on the abuse of power.
Paul Krugman: The wealthy donors for whom the GOP will apparently do anything, up to and including covering up for possible treason, will get no joy from their tax cuts.
David Leonhardt: There is a major difference between the current plan and George W. Bush’s tax cut or Ronald Reagan’s. Trump’s plan would not actually cut taxes for many middle-class families. It would raise them. These families are in the minority, yes. But there are a lot of them.
“Let’s hold the ones who crossed the line accountable and stop the harassment. But let’s also acknowledge the good and honorable men who work daily with women and have professional, courteous and encouraging relationships. #TheGoodOnes” – Kellie Randle, Sacramento
Tweet of the day
“There are 6 more sealed sets of charges filed in DC federal court since Papadopoulus (sic) began cooperating until now. Thats a huge number.” – Kurt Eichenwald, @kurteichenwald