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How Skadden, the Giant Law Firm, Got Entangled in the Mueller Investigation

Skadden’s work advising controversial foreign clients was probably prompted by the same aggressive risk-taking that fueled the firm’s rise from scrappy upstart to top-grossing legal giant with a range of practice areas, said Lincoln Caplan, a research scholar at Yale Law School and the author of “Skadden: Power, Money, and the Rise of a Legal Empire.”“The mentality is that Skadden wouldn’t be afraid of doing something like this, if there was a chance to utilize their skills and status to take advantage of what sounds like a very lucrative business, and they saw no legal or ethical proscription against their taking on the matter,” he said.Skadden’s work is part of a trend in recent years of lobbyists and lawyers earning increasingly larger paydays by marketing their connections in Washington to foreign politicians, countries and companies willing to pay hefty fees to burnish their reputations in the United States and on the international stage.Among those reaping windfalls are large international law firms like the Washington-based Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, which represents the governments of Japan, the Maldives, Nicaragua and South Korea, among others.Newer lobbying upstarts like Ballard Partners have won foreign clients by capitalizing on ties to President Trump. Founded by Brian Ballard, a lobbyist based in Tallahassee, Fla., who was a leading fund-raiser for Mr. Trump’s campaign, transition and inauguration, Ballard Partners has signed contracts with government entities or political parties in Albania, the Dominican Republic, Kosovo and Turkey, all since the inauguration.Those firms, which have not been accused of impropriety, disclosed the foreign contracts to the Justice Department under the Foreign Agents Registration Act. The law requires anyone who lobbies or does public relations for foreign individuals, companies, governments and political parties to reveal detailed information about their work and payments for it. The act is intended to prevent foreign actors from surreptitiously influencing American public policy.But for years, many American consultants have skirted the law’s requirements. Mr. Mueller’s inquiry has focused on such undisclosed lobbying among some of its leading practitioners, including Mr. Manafort, who helped pioneer the model for international consulting three decades ago. […]

After a Massacre, a Question of One More Death: The Gunman’s

NYT

Here is the original: After a Massacre, a Question of One More Death: The Gunman’s

Facebook and Google Struggle to Squelch ‘Crisis Actor’ Posts

The resilience of misinformation, despite efforts by the tech behemoths to eliminate it, has become a real-time case study of how the companies are constantly a step behind in stamping out the content. At every turn, trolls, conspiracy theorists and others have proved to be more adept at taking advantage of exactly what the sites were created to do — encourage people to post almost anything they want — than the companies are at catching them.PhotoA Facebook post calling Emma Gonzalez and David Hogg, survivors of the Parkland, Fla., school shooting, “crisis actors.” Facebook has said it will remove such content.“They’re not able to police their platforms when the type of content that they’re promising to prohibit changes on a too-frequent basis,” Jonathon Morgan, founder of New Knowledge, a company that tracks disinformation online, said of Facebook and YouTube.The difficulty of dealing with inappropriate online content stands out with the Parkland shooting because the tech companies have effectively committed to removing any accusations that the Parkland survivors were actors, a step they did not take after other recent mass shootings, such as last October’s massacre in Las Vegas. In the past, the companies typically addressed specific types of content only when it was illegal — posts from terrorist organizations, for example — Mr. Morgan said.Facebook and YouTube’s promises follow a stream of criticism in recent months over how their sites can be gamed to spread Russian propaganda, among other abuses […]

Ties to the N.R.A. Leave Companies Scrambling for Cover

For companies like MetLife that are caught in the middle of these angry social media storms, actions tied to divisive social issues can be a lose-lose proposition. […]

The Charges in the Mueller Investigation

SectionsSEARCHSkip to contentSkip to site indexSubscribeLog In SubscribeLog InAdvertisementPoliticsThe Charges in the Mueller InvestigationBy Emily Cochrane and Alicia Parlapiano Feb. 23, 2018In the nine months since Robert S. Mueller III was appointed to oversee the investigation into possible links between the Trump campaign and Russian officials, he has issued more than 100 criminal counts against 19 people and three companies. Of the 19 people, four — including three Trump associates — have pleaded guilty. Thirteen are Russians accused of meddling in the 2016 presidential election.Here is an assessment of the charges and the people facing them in the special counsel investigation.Pleaded Guilty and Known to Be CooperatingGeorge PapadopoulosMr. Papadopoulos, a former foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign, pleaded guilty on Oct. 5 to lying to the F.B.I. […]

Rick Gates, Florida, Justin Trudeau: Your Friday Evening Briefing

#briefing-market-module.interactive-embedded .interactive-caption { display: none; } Market Snapshot View Full Overview ____ Photo Credit Comedy Central 10. Finally, Trevor Noah riffed on the CNN town hall event with survivors of the Florida school shooting. He was impressed that Senator Marco Rubio said he would reconsider his position on high-capacity magazines, which allow weapons to fire many bullets quickly. “I’m not going to lie, I’m surprised that these heckling teenagers got Rubio to change his mind,” Mr […]

The Making of a No. 1 YouTube Conspiracy Video After the Parkland Tragedy

“I had no idea where all the attention was coming from,” said “mike m.” in an online chat interview with The New York Times. “I just noticed it started to take off.”Many commenters were confused. “Why is this on trending, especially on news? Nothing special,” wrote one. Others, tipped off by the caption calling Mr. Hogg an actor, knew exactly what they thought they were seeing: “Someone get this kid an Oscar!” one wrote.By noon on Wednesday, YouTube had pulled the video for violating its policy on harassment and bullying.It was not the first time that YouTube had served not just as a source of fringe conspiracy theories, but as an accomplice in their rapid spread.After the massacre in Las Vegas last October, YouTubers filled a void of information about the killer’s motives with dark speculation, crowding the site with videos that were fonts of discredited and unproven information, including claims that the tragedy had been staged.After a mass shooting last November at a church in Sutherland Springs, Tex., those seeking news about the event on YouTube were overwhelmed by videos falsely claiming it had been a “false flag” attack meant to spur gun control measures or a plot carried out by the so-called antifa (short for anti-fascist) movement.PhotoMr. Hogg speaking at a rally calling for more gun control after the shooting at his high school.Credit Jonathan Drake/ReutersIn the wake of this latest tragedy, which left 17 people dead at the school in Parkland, YouTube still seemed caught by surprise by the rise of another video meant to peddle a baseless theory.Continue reading the main story“In 2017, we started rolling out changes to better surface authoritative news sources in search results, particularly around breaking news events,” YouTube, which is owned by Google, said in a statement. “We’ve seen improvements, but in some circumstances these changes are not working quickly enough. […]