Photo: Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images

WIRED’s latest cover story, on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s year in the Vietnam War, shines new light on the how he thinks, works and leads.

Why it matters: Mueller and Trump, two men from similar backgrounds but vastly divergent lives, are on opposite sides of a political face-off. One’s presence in the media is ubiquitous, and the other is shrouded in mystery.

The big picture...

  • Mueller and Trump's divergent paths "began with Vietnam, the conflict that tore the country apart just as both men graduated from college in the 1960s."
  • "Trump famously drew five draft deferments ... He would later joke, repeatedly, that his success at avoiding sexually transmitted diseases while dating numerous women in the 1980s was 'my personal Vietnam. I feel like a great and very brave soldier.'"
  • "Mueller ... spent a year waiting for an injured knee to heal so he could serve. ... When he was leading the FBI through the catastrophe of 9/11 and its aftermath, he would brush off the crushing stress, saying, 'I’m getting a lot more sleep now than I ever did in Vietnam.'"

The war...

  • Mueller climbed the ranks in the Vietnam War, eventually ending his military career as a captain.
  • "Hotel Company quickly came to understand that its new platoon leader was no Gold Bricker [a derisive term for new young second lieutenants like Mueller]. 'He wanted to know as much as he could as fast as he could about the terrain, what we did, the ambushes, everything,” [Mueller's platoon-mate VJ] Maranto says. 'He was all about the mission, the mission, the mission.'"
  • During one particularly bloody battle, "Mueller realized quickly how much trouble the platoon was in. 'That day was the second heaviest fire I received in Vietnam,' former Marine David Harris says. 'Lieutenant Mueller was directing traffic, positioning people and calling in air strikes. He was standing upright, moving. He probably saved our hide.'"
  • "For Mueller, the battle had proved both to him and his men that he could lead. 'The minute the shit hit the fan, he was there,' Maranto says. 'He performed remarkably. After that night, there were a lot of guys who would’ve walked through walls for him.'"

The investigation...

  • "If Mueller’s discipline is reflected in the silence of his team, his relentlessness has been abundantly evident in the pace of indictments, arrests, and legal maneuvers coming out of his office."
  • The big thing: The known unknowns — how much more Mueller knows that is publicly unknown — are what spooks Trump allies most.

Go deeper with WIRED's story by Garrett Graff.

Go deeper

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15 states broke single-day coronavirus records this week

Data: Compiled from state health departments by Axios; Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

At least 15 states broke their single-day novel coronavirus infection records this week, according to state health department data reviewed by Axios.

The big picture: The number of coronavirus cases increased in the vast majority of states over the last week, and decreased in only two states plus the District of Columbia, Axios' Andrew Withershoop and Caitlin Owens report.

Updated 16 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 p.m. ET: 11,143,945 — Total deaths: 527,681 — Total recoveries — 6,004,593Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 p.m. ET: 2,818,588 — Total deaths: 129,584 — Total recoveries: 883,561 — Total tested: 34,213,497Map.
  3. States: Photos of America's pandemic July 4 ICU beds in Arizona's hot spot reach near capacity.
  4. Public health: U.S. coronavirus infections hit record highs for 3 straight days.
  5. Politics: Trump extends PPP application deadlineKimberly Guilfoyle tests positive.
  6. World: Mexican leaders call for tighter border control as infections rise in U.S.
  7. Sports: 31 MLB players test positive as workouts resume.
  8. 1 📽 thing: Drive-in movie theaters are making a comeback.
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In photos: America celebrates July 4 during global pandemic

Photo: Francine Orr/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images

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The state of play: Axios' Stef Kight writes public parades and fireworks displays around much of the country are being canceled to prevent mass gatherings where the virus could spread. Hot-dog contests and concerts will play to empty stands and virtual audiences — all while American pride treads an all-time low.