President Trump speaks at the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center in Lima, Ohio.Michael Conroy / AP

What We’re Following Today

It’s Wednesday, March 20.

‣  President Donald Trump told reporters at the White House today that he thinks Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s final report on his investigation into Russian interference in the presidential election should be made public.

Here’s what else we’re watching:

Mother Russia: Maria Butina, the first Russian to plead guilty to attempting to influence American policy makers before the 2016 election, has had a bad year. She’s currently being held in a Northern Virginia detention center awaiting sentencing. But she still has powerful allies: An NGO partly funded by the Kremlin is paying her legal bills, and as Natasha Bertrand reports, “One of her backers has been trying to promote fringe separatist movements in the U.S. since well before 2016.” The mystery of Russian influence operations, and Butina’s role in them, continues.

A Segregated System: When data released by New York this week revealed that out of the 952 students accepted into the city’s elite Stuyvesant High School for the next school year, just seven were black, the city erupted in outrage. Black-student enrollment at Stuyvesant peaked in 1975, with 303 black students out of 2,536 total students. In 2000, that number dropped to 109. Last year, there were 24. This is the nth verse of the same story for elite New York schools, writes Adam Harris.

Facebook Folds: In a victory for civil-rights groups across the country, Facebook just settled in a landmark case. For years, Facebook’s platform allowed advertisers to  filter home or job postings from reaching specific groups such as women, people over 55, or African Americans. Facebook was slow to change, and the groups sued. After years of negotiating, the tech giant reached a settlement and agreed to create a separate advertising portal to help prevent such discrimination. “The good news is: By the end of the year, civil-rights protections will be equal on Facebook and the media platforms that came before it,” writes Alexis C. Madrigal. “The bad news is: all the years before that was true.”

Madeleine Carlisle and Olivia Paschal


Snapshot

Senator Bernie Sanders greets workers at a rally at UCLA. Members of a union representing research and technical workers walked picket lines Wednesday at University of California campuses and hospitals in a one-day strike amid a lengthening stretch of unsuccessful contract negotiations. (Richard Vogel / AP)


Ideas From The Atlantic

Americans Are Seeing Threats in the Wrong Places (Janet Napolitano with Karen Breslau)
“In the four years I led the Department of Homeland Security, I learned from the inside that the greatest threats to our safety play out differently from how political speeches and news reports might have us believe. True security means educating the public about which dangers are real and likely and which are not.”→ Read on.

The Art of a Monster (Caitlin Flanagan)
“Through this terrible man, this destroyer, poured a force that can only be truthfully described as art. Michael Jackson’s dancing is no mortal enterprise: James Brown’s shuffle, Fred Astaire’s precision, and some other element that exists so far beyond anything as simple as influence, or talent, that we can only say we know it when we see it. It’s not a gift; it’s the gift itself. The ancient question: What moral stain awaits us if we cannot abandon the art of a monster? None.”→ Read on.

Sometimes the Supreme Court Sticks to the Law (Garrett Epps)
“The Court granted certiorari in four new criminal-justice cases that, by and large, lack a strong partisan valence. These cases will involve the Court doing, well, you know, law, and in particular, cleaning up some loose ends of its criminal jurisprudence.”→ Read on.


What Else We’re Reading

This South Dakota Law Is a Gift to Bad Cops (Matthew Harwood, Reason)
Andrew Yang, We’ll See You on the Debate Stage (Jim Geraghty, National Review)
Beto O’Rourke’s Health Care Proposal Is Not Medicare for All, but It Is Ambitious (Jordan Weissmann, Slate)
Meet a Network of Volunteers Helping With Assisted Suicide (Katie Engelhart, The California Sunday Magazine)
Immigration Officials Accused of Targeting Faith Leader and Religious Groups (Jack Jenkins, Religion News Service)
To Revive Rural America, We Must Fix Our Broken Food System (Austin Frerick, The American Conservative)

One More Thing…

Say It Ain’t So: Why aren’t more movies made about us journalists? In author Tom Rosenstiel’s opinion, “In political fiction at least, journalists don’t make great protagonists.


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