Stories

SaveSave story

The Mueller stories worth ignoring

President Trump arrives yesterday with First Lady Melania Trump and Vice President Pence at the funeral of the Rev. Billy Graham in Charlotte, N.C. Photo: Jim Watson / AFP / Getty Images

There's a contagion of Washington coverage that isn't worthy of your time. The stories sound dramatic but tell you little, if anything.

Be smart: Jonathan Swan emails me: "The very important collective impact of this reporting is that it could make Trump more angry than ever about the probe."

See if you can spot the pattern:

  • "Source: Mueller looking into what Hicks knows." (CNN)
  • "Mueller asking if Trump knew about hacked Democratic emails before release." (NBC)
  • "Mueller asking about Trump's Russia business deals and Miss Universe pageant." (Newsweek)
  • "Mueller team asks about Trump's Russian business dealings as he weighed a run for president." (CNN)
  • "Mueller looking at Ivanka Trump's interaction with Russian lawyer at Trump Tower." (The Hill)

Why it doesn't matter: All we know is what yappy witnesses tell reporters they were asked about.

  • News flash: Mueller is looking at everything.
  • That's his job. When he was named, he was empowered/instructed to look into the "FBI investigation of Russian government efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election and related matters." That there is a broad mandate.
  • This gives us literally zero insight into what the special counsel is actually doing and thinking.
  • These kernels aren't from Mueller's office: We've seen time and again (and again) that his office is one of Washington's few leak-free zones.
  • Yes, it looks bad. Based on conversations with White House insiders, I can tell you they're more bearish than ever about the outcome. But we're all guessing.

The bottom line: Here's one headline that's true: "Expect more ‘surprises’ from Mueller probe, former crusading prosecutor says."

  • And expect plenty more "scoops" about what Mueller is asking gabby witnesses.
Sam Baker 38 mins ago
SaveSave story
Featured

How to lower prescription drug costs

A pill and a hammer
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President Trump's upcoming speech on drug prices will probably stick to small-ball ideas. But small-ball doesn't necessarily mean no impact.

Reality check: There are a lot of legitimate ways to bring down drug costs; there are also a lot of empty gestures masquerading as real change. Here's a guide to the kinds of ideas and the odds that they'll actually happen.

Jonathan Swan 10 hours ago
SaveSave story
Featured

Trump asked Netanyahu if he genuinely cares about peace

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Trump at the White House in March. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

In a phone call last year with Bibi Netanyahu, President Trump said something that shocked some of the people who helped prepare his briefing materials for the conversations. According to three sources familiar with the call, Trump asked Bibi bluntly if he actually cares about peace or not.

The details: Trump was pressing Bibi on the importance of striking a "deal" for Mideast peace. He'd read news reports about Bibi planning to build additional settlements to please his conservative base in Israel. Trump thought Bibi was unnecessarily angering the Palestinians. So, in the course of a longer conversation that was mostly friendly and complimentary, he bluntly asked Bibi whether or not he genuinely wants peace.