President Trump, Brexit, Brunei: Your Thursday Briefing

(Want to get this briefing by email? Here’s the sign-up.)

Good morning.

A dispute over the Mueller report, how Rupert Murdoch’s empire of influence remade the world, and a class divide at the University of Southern California. Here’s the latest:

Some of the special counsel’s investigators told associates that the attorney general had failed to adequately portray the findings of their inquiry, and that they were more troubling for President Trump than he indicated, according to government officials and others familiar with the matter.

The investigators had already written multiple summaries of the nearly 400-page report, and some team members believe that the attorney general, William Barr, should have included more of their material in the four-page letter he wrote on March 24 laying out their main conclusions. Mr. Barr only briefly cited the special counsel’s work in his letter.

The officials declined to flesh out why some of the special counsel’s investigators viewed their findings as potentially more damaging for the president than Mr. Barr explained.

Bigger picture: At stake in the dispute is who shapes the public’s initial understanding of one of the most consequential government investigations in American history.


The empire of Rupert Murdoch, the founder of a global media empire that includes Fox News, has helped destabilize democracy in North America, Australia and Europe, a Times investigation found.

Our reporters examined how Mr. Murdoch’s media outlets have promoted right-wing politics and stoked reactionary populism in recent years. While the empire did not cause the global wave of right-wing populism, it enabled it, promoted it and profited from it.

If you don’t have time to read The Times Magazine’s full, three-part investigation, read our takeaways.

Scope: Mr. Murdoch’s outlets have pushed for Britain’s withdrawal from the E.U., the repeal of a carbon tax in Australia and the overthrow of an Australian prime minister.


A harsh new criminal law in Brunei — one that includes death by stoning for sex between men or adultery, and amputation of limbs for theft — is now in effect, despite an international outcry from other countries, rights groups, celebrities and students.

Brunei, a tiny monarchy on the island of Borneo in Southeast Asia, based the law on the most extreme interpretation of Shariah, an Islamic legal code drawn from the Quran and other writings.

The reaction: Los Angeles officials and celebrities like George Clooney and Ellen DeGeneres have called for a boycott of nine hotels owned by the Sultan of Brunei — three in Britain and two each in France, Italy and the U.S.

An American college admissions scandal offered a window into the inequities of the application process. But what about the campuses themselves?

Students at the University of Southern California, which figures prominently in the indictment in the scheme, described a vivid divide between rich and poor at their school, where students said they often worried they were being judged by their peers.

“I have met these rich kids who have so much that I can’t comprehend, doing things that I can’t fathom,” one sophomore said.

Details: Wealth on campus, for some, comes in the form of spring breaks in Bali, resort-style apartment buildings and regular group dinners out where tabs stretch into four digits. But it also bleeds into academics, with wealthier students having the option of private tutoring and access to their parents’ networks when looking for jobs and internships.


Recipe of the day: This quick pressure-cooker chipotle chicken pozole tastes as if it has simmered for a long time.

Asking children what they want to be when they grow up encourages them to define themselves in terms of work. Here’s what to ask them instead.

The right sports bra might change the way you work out. Here’s how to find one that actually fits.


The North Atlantic Treaty Organization officially turns 70 today.

Having lunch in the cafeteria at NATO’s headquarters in Brussels is like attending a costume party, given the varied uniforms of the 29 members. A 30th nation, North Macedonia, is to join soon.

The appeal is a mutual defense pact that has a rejuvenated purpose: to keep Russia contained and Germany defended.

Tensions that had seemed to diminish with the fall of the Soviet Union are back, thanks to the 2008 Georgian war, the 2014 Russian annexation of Crimea and warfare in eastern Ukraine, and Russian meddling in Montenegro, Greece and other countries in Central Europe.

President Trump has disparaged NATO’s new headquarters as too expensive. But for this frequent visitor, it was a needed replacement for the ramshackle old structure. I once nearly lost my foot going through a rotten floor that was thrown together when Charles de Gaulle threw NATO out of France in 1966.

But even France has come back to full membership, 10 years ago now.

Steven Erlanger, the chief diplomatic correspondent in Europe for The Times, wrote today’s Back Story.


Your Morning Briefing is published weekday mornings.

Check out this page to find a Morning Briefing for your region. (In addition to our European edition, we have Australian, Asian and U.S. editions.)

Sign up here to receive an Evening Briefing on U.S. weeknights, and here’s our full range of free newsletters.

What would you like to see here? Contact us at briefing@nytimes.com.




Source link