A version of this article first appeared in the “Reliable Sources” newsletter. You can sign up for free right here.
Cable news channels are starting to run promos for live coverage of Robert Mueller’s long-awaited testimony on Capitol Hill. July 17 is the day — one week from now — much to the chagrin of Attorney General William Barr and his boss President Donald Trump.
In a new round of interviews, Barr criticized House Democrats for “dragging Bob Mueller up” to Capitol Hill. And Trump has already scheduled a campaign rally for the very same day as the hearings, presumably so he can get the last word after Mueller is seen speaking on camera about his findings.
Much of the pre-hearing conversation is about how meaningful the hearings might be. On Tuesday Mediaite’s Josh Feldman flagged this comment from NBC correspondent Heidi Przybyla, who said on MSNBC that one big purpose of the hearings “is to rebut the misrepresentation that was made” by Barr about the Mueller Report.
Quoting Przybyla: “You need to almost have a choreography here — of Trump saying ‘No collusion, no collusion, no obstruction’ — ‘Mr. Mueller, is that accurate?’ And just by having those sound bites, you’re going to correct a lot of misconceptions that are out there — when you have news reports coming out that even many members of Congress admit to not having read the whole report. You have a whole vast universe out there of — and I’ll say it — Fox News viewers, for instance, who may not even be aware of the worst things that are in the Mueller report. May not even be aware of it.”
Przybyla was citing a new story by Politico’s Darren Samuelsohn, who said it’s “time for a Mueller report reality check: Only a small segment of America’s most powerful have read it.”
His point: There’s “a giant literacy gap in the country when it comes to the most authoritative examination into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and whether Trump obstructed that investigation. And closing that gap could determine whether Democrats feel they have public backing to launch impeachment proceedings against the president.”
Samuelsohn pointed out that even the Mueller Report’s “best seller” status as a paperback book doesn’t mean all that much, since the threshold to be a best-selling book is relatively low.
Numerous individuals and groups have tried to make the Mueller Report more palatable, more digestible, more enticing. There have been book clubs. And podcasts. And theatrical productions. Now there’s this: A movie-like treatment by bestselling author and screenwriter Mark Bowden.
INSIDER Inc. editor in chief Nicholas Carlson had the idea to commission the work from Bowden. And he hired Chad Hurd, an illustrator from the art department of “Archer,” to illustrate some crucial scenes.
The finished product was published on Wednesday morning.
“It feels as if nobody read the Mueller report. That’s a shame, because it’s an important document, depicting possible crimes by a sitting US president,” Carlson wrote in his editor’s note.
Yes, he acknowledged, the 448-page report is a challenge. “And yet,” he wrote, “buried within the Mueller report, there is a narrative that reads in parts like a thriller, like a comedy, like a tragedy — and, most important — like an indictment. The facts are compelling, all the more so because they come not from President Donald Trump’s critics or ‘fake news’ reports, but from Trump’s own handpicked colleagues and associates. The story just needed to be rearranged in a better form.”
So that’s what Bowden tried to do. It certainly won’t be the last retelling of Mueller’s report.
Pecker and Howard about to be subpoenaed?
The House Judiciary Committee is “planning a Thursday vote” to authorize subpoenas “as part of its probe into potential obstruction of justice,” CNN’s Priscilla Alvarez and Jeremy Herb report.
This is an escalation of the panel’s “requests” for info back in March. Two of the dozen names on the could-be-subpoenaed list: American Media’s David Pecker and Dylan Howard, “suggesting the committee is also ramping up its probe of hush-money payments made to women during the campaign alleging affairs with Trump…”
FOR THE RECORD
— Ross Perot died Tuesday. He was 89. In his final interview with the Dallas Morning News, his parting words to the reporter were: “Texas born. Texas bred. When I die, I’ll be Texas dead. Ha!” (DMN)
— A “what century is this?!” headline out of Mississippi: “Robert Foster, GOP governor candidate, denies woman reporter access because of her gender” (Mississippi Today)
— CNN’s Jennifer Agiesta is out with “new standards for reporting on polling” that the network will use… (CNN)
Rapinoe’s message to Trump
Anderson Cooper said to US women’s soccer captain Megan Rapinoe on Tuesday night: “There’s a good chance the president is watching this interview or will watch this interview. What is your message to the president?”
Rapinoe paused, thought about it, and then looked straight into the camera and said this: “I think that I would say that YOUR message is excluding people. You are excluding me, you’re excluding people that look like me. You are excluding people of color. You’re excluding, you know, Americans that maybe support you. I think that we need to have a reckoning with the message that you have and what you are saying about ‘make America great again.’ I think that you’re harking back to an era that was not great for everyone. It might have been great for a few people and maybe America’s great for a few people right now, but it’s not great for enough Americans in this world.”
She continued — still looking straight to the camera most of the time — “I think that we have a responsibility, each and every one of us and, you have our incredible responsibility as the chief of this country, to take care of every single person, and you need to do better for everyone.” Watch…
NYC’s ticker tape parade for the US women’s national team starts at 9:30am ET…
Then the team flies to L.A. for The Espys, live on ABC in prime time…
The Chicago Defender releases its last print issue before going digital-only…
Vidcon gets underway in Anaheim…