It’s a Slate Plus mutiny! Gabe is out sick this week, so the rest of the team is taking over the Digest. Don’t worry: We’ve still got the best links of the week.
- This week, we got a lot more insight into special counsel Robert Mueller’s expanding probe into Russia and Trump, including the fact that the FBI is now investigating President Trump for possible obstruction of justice.
- This move now leaves Mueller vulnerable alongside the murmurs that the president wants to get rid of him. Trump and his associates are already lining up the sham arguments to discredit the former FBI director. And after Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein stated he would not fire the special counsel without “good cause,” Trump went after him, too.
Given these developments and Trump’s ongoing frustration with the investigation, Slate had some timely Trump-watching advice.
- The next time the president expresses his frustration with the investigation, don’t be surprised that he sounds like a child—after all, Trump once said he hasn’t changed since he was 7, as Isaac learned from Trump biographer Marc Fisher.
- Do not be fooled by advisers who ask you to take Trump’s tweets seriously but not literally. Just take his tweets seriously, Dahlia explains.
- After this week’s testimony from Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, Will Saletan wrote about why neither man is vouching for Trump’s innocence.
Apart from Trump:
- After Wednesday’s shooting at a congressional baseball practice, Congress members on both sides of the aisle were visibly shaken. Turns out, like most mass shooters, this gunman had a history of domestic violence.
- Dan Engber wrote about a one-paragraph blurb that helped cause the opioid crisis. Carl Wilson unpacked the “supersize badness” of Katy Perry’s new album. Sam Adams got to know Better Call Saul’s Michael McKean. Elizabeth Collins wrote about her incredibly lovable grandmanny.
Not From Slate
- This multisensory report from ProPublica and National Geographic on the horrific 2011 massacre in the Mexican town of Allende, and how the U.S. was involved.
- Ladies, you’re not imagining it: We really are all Kamala Harris. The NYT’s Susan Chira wrote about the universality of getting interrupted as a woman in the workplace.
- That thing you never realized you had so many questions about: What’s the deal with the ads on the big blue highway exit signs?
- And how the Southern Baptist Church struggled (and almost failed) to condemn white supremacy and the alt-right this week.
A Special Appearance From Mr. Slate
Earlier this week, Slate staff noticed that in his new book, Minnesota Sen. Al Franken quotes a flattering passage about himself from a 2009 Slate article by Dahlia Lithwick. Inexplicably, the former comedian attributed this excerpt not to Lithwick, but to one Mr. Slate.
We asked Slate’s assistant interactives editor Andrew Kahn—who was quick to compare Mr. Slate to Roger Hargreaves’ classic Mr. Men characters—to imagine a day in the life of Mr. Slate, just for Slate Plus.
It was a beautiful day—but not in the way you think.
Mr. Slate was watching the rain from his bedroom window. He liked this type of weather because other people didn’t.
And it was good for plants.
You didn’t know there was such a thing as a Slate, did you?
Well, there is!
According to popular wisdom, Slates like to say things that contradict or complicate popular wisdom.
But that’s not quite right.
When the rain had stopped, Mr. Slate went into town looking for something to have an opinion about.
Looking for anything to have an opinion about!
He found Wonder Woman.
Wonder Woman thought Wonder Woman was very feminist.
“And yet,” said Mr. Slate.
Mr. Slate grinned a mischievous grin.
Then he found a grapefruit, and then a Bezos, and then neoliberalism, and he said something about them all that had never been said before.
Twitter didn’t break. It was already broken.
Mr. Slate went home.
He got into bed and dreamt he was awake.
Thanks for your membership. Gabe will be back next week.
—Chau, Jeff, and Rachel