Getting on the newsletter bandwagon


I'm starting this newsletter to share my reporting and writing -- as well as other articles that I liked on the Internet -- because it's impossible to keep up with Twitter, and most normal people are not on it (and a lot of bots). Facebook gathers so much data about us, and as such a lot of people have left that too.

HBO's "Chernobyl" and why it didn't go over well in Russia's Pro-Kremlin media.  In The Washington Post, I wrote about HBO's surprise hit "Chernobyl." While a lot of Russian reviewers liked it, it got panned in Russia's pro-Kremlin media. My read? The show didn't make the Soviet Union great again, which is a central underpinning of how the current system works. From the article:

The reaction of pro-Kremlin media to “Chernobyl” illustrates a principle that undergirds Putin’s entire theory of how Russia’s history and its past relate to each other. The past must be recast as a period of national greatness in order for the contemporary political promise of a return to strength at home and abroad to make sense...You cannot be great again if you were not great before.

Read the full piece here.

The Administration Prepares to Ignore Congress on Iran...Because 9/11. The current standoff with Iran is really dangerous because the offramps are more unlikely in a serious escalation: the Trump administration pulled out of the nuclear deal in 2018, has sanctioned Iran, and hasn't shown signs of wanting to negotiate a new deal. That makes war much more likely than it was before.

But how would it be legal?

The administration is telegraphing a few defenses, using the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force, which was passed to attack the Taliban and al-Qaeda, but has since been read broadly by administrations while Congress has balked at repealing it. There's no evidence that Iran had anything to do with 9/11. The other defense is of presidential power under Article II of the Constitution, but the tanker attacks haven't risen to that level.

For Fortune, I did an explainer with input from legal experts about how thin these defenses are.

Elsewhere on the Internet:

"His Name Was Andrei" by Carl Schreck and Sergei Khazov-Nassia, RFE/RL. A bombshell investigative report about a missing man, who appears to have been swept up in Chechnya's gay purge.

"The Youngest Child Separated at the Border Was 4 Months Old" by Caitilin Dickerson, New York Times. Child separations are already happening, despite Trump's tweet about a mass immigration roundup next week. Here's a well-reported story from the Times about a family in Romania fleeing ethnic persecution whose child was separated by immigration officers at an airport.

"Trump’s U.N. nominee was ‘absent’ ambassador" by Lauren Gardner, Politico. The ambassador to the U.N. nominee was frequently absent from her post in Canada, according to F.A.A. records.