Weekly Review — March 26, 2019, 10:29 am

Weekly Review

The Mueller investigation concluded; two students who survived the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, and the father of a student who was killed in the mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, died by suicide; Flat Earthers commented on their upcoming cruise

Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s 22-month investigation, which cost between $32 million and $35 million to conduct, concluded that the Russian government did not coordinate with Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.1 2 In a summary of the report, Attorney General William Barr wrote, “The Special Counsel states that ‘while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.’”3 When asked for comment on Barr’s summary of the report, the president said, “It’s a shame that our country had to go through this. To be honest, it’s a shame that your president has had to go through this for—before I even got elected, it began. And it began illegally. And hopefully somebody’s gonna look at the other side. This was an illegal takedown that failed.”4 Michael Avenatti—the lawyer whose client, Stormy Daniels, accused him of, unbeknownst to her, starting a crowdfunding campaign on her behalf that attributed false quotes to her—was charged, in two separate cases in New York and Los Angeles, with wire fraud, bank fraud, and an attempt to extort $15–$25 million from Nike. According to the criminal complaint filed in New York, Avenatti asked an attorney for the shoe company: “[Ever] held the balls of the client in your hand where you could take five to six billion dollars market cap off of them?”5 6 7 8 Justice Clarence Thomas asked a question while hearing arguments in the case of Curtis Flowers, the first time he had spoken in court since February 2016, which broke a decade-long silence before that.9 10 Two Russian military planes, which carried 100 soldiers and the chief of staff of the ground forces, landed in Caracas.11

President Trump signed a proclamation which stated the Golan Heights belong to Israel because of the territory’s “critical strategic and security importance.”12 13 At the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s conference, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said, “What weakens us is when, instead of engaging in legitimate debate about policies, someone questions the motives of his or her fellow citizens or tries to silence others through exclusion, disenfranchisement, or fear”; Meghan McCain, a daughter of Senator John McCain who does not hold an elected office, announced, “Americans don’t support Israel because AIPAC is powerful. AIPAC is powerful because Americans support Israel”; and Brian Hook, the US Special Representative for Iran and Senior Policy Advisor to the Secretary of State, remarked, “Iran is facing its worst economic crisis in its 40-year history,” which received applause from the audience.14 15 16 17 18 It was reported that, in February, the US government overspent $234 billion more than it grossed in tax revenue, making it the largest monthly budget deficit in history.19 Doug Ford, premier of Ontario, cautioned teachers against protesting larger class sizes that have been instituted as a cost-saving measure; teachers in Indiana were shot execution-style by pellet guns as part of an active-shooter training session conducted by the White County sheriff’s department; and two students who survived the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, and the father of a student who was killed in the mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, died by suicide.20 21 22 23 Parents in Boulder, Colorado, held a chicken-pox party as an alternative to vaccinating their children, and the governor of Kentucky said that he had intentionally exposed his children to a neighbor who had the virus.24 25 “I think we need to make it a lot less fun to be here, unfortunately,” offered John Elizabeth Alemán, Miami Beach Commissioner, while discussing spring-break-related crimes.26

Patricia Okoumou was sentenced to five years’ probation and 200 hours of community service for climbing the Statue of Liberty and displaying a sign that said abolish ice.27 28 Protests on the Champs-Elysees in Paris, and parts of Toulouse, Bordeaux, Dijon, Rennes, and Nice have been banned.29 An online petition to revoke Article 50 and halt Brexit talks has over 5 million signatures; the European Commission said that it is “increasingly likely” that the United Kingdom, which has a population of over 66 million, will leave the European Union without a deal on March 29.30 31 32 A spokesman for a group of Flat Earthers who are planning a cruise with like-minded conspiracists denied that the voyage will look for the edge of the world in Antarctica, saying it will instead be an opportunity to network.33Violet Lucca

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