the damage report: May 19th, 2017


Welcome to the paper’s Damage Report!

In order to keep readers up to date with current events, we decided to start this weekly feature, in which we present short, concise explanations of major topics that have occurred that week in the news. As well, we will link to other articles that will provide further information, as well as other articles we believe coincide with the story. This feature will be published every Friday

We have decided that, for the summer, the damage report will switch from a biweekly format to a weekly format.

Your News Editors,
Nick & Rachel


Justice Department Appoints Robert Mueller to Lead Russian Investigation

On Wednesday, after FBI director James Comey was fired and all the other controversy surrounding President Trump’s possible links to Russia, the Justice Department has appointed Robert Mueller to lead the investigation into these links.  Mr. Mueller is a former FBI director who served immediately before Mr. Comey.  He was nominated in 2001 by then-President George Bush to the position. Normally, FBI directors serve for 10 years, however when his expiration came up in 2011, President Obama extended Mr. Mueller’s position for two more years, to 2013 when he retired and was replaced by Mr. Comey.  Mr. Mueller, a Republican, has had an untarnished career, and has stayed apolitical throughout it.  Therefore, this appointment has been hailed as a great move by both sides of the aisle, as Mr. Mueller is seen as a third party who is not trying to take any political sides in the investigation.  In response to the appointment, President Trump tweeted out that this investigation is “the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history”. The pressure has been mounting on President Trump. This week he has both released classified information while talking to a Russian ambassador, and has been requested by his own advisors to hire an outside lawyer to focus on the Russian probe, all while more controversial information has come to light over the Comey firing.

Further Reading:

What Donald Trump Needs to Know About Bob Mueller and Jim Comey – Politico


Tragedy Occurs at New York Times Square

On Thursday, tragedy occurred in New York City’s Times Square as a Honda Accord struck pedestrians who were walking on the sidewalk. The driver of the Honda Accord was Richard Rojas, a 26 year old Bronx local. Mr. Rojas switched from the road to the sidewalk at W. 42nd Street, and drove on it for three blocks before crashing on W. 45th Street.  Upon crashing, he jumped out of the car and started madly dashing around the area, before being restrained by a group of people.  He had killed 1 person, Alyssa Elsman, an 18 year old woman from Michigan. 22 other people were injured as well. Authorities have declared that this incident was not a terrorist attack  It was revealed that Mr. Rojas had in fact ingested marijuana with PCP laced into it immediately before this incident, further stating that he “wanted to kill them” as his rationale for running people over on the sidewalk.  In speaking on the incident, Mayor Bill de Blasio said that it was “intentional in the sense that he was troubled and lashing out”.

Further Reading:

Before Driver’s Times Square Crash, a Descent Into Paranoia and Harassment – The New York Times


Anthony Weiner Pleads Guilty to Sexting Scandal involving Minor

On Friday, Anthony Weiner, a former New York Congressman, pleaded guilty in federal court to sexting a fifteen year old girl.  Weiner was the center of a sexting scandal a couple of years ago, which ended up destroying his political prospects and career. In 2011, he had accidentally tweeted out an explicit image. This served as a catalyst for subsequents scandals and incidents, as his infidelity came to light. This infidelity, which involved explicit communications with other women, have in part led Mr. Weiner to be estranged from his wife, Huma Abedin. This current allegation, of sexual communication with a minor, was found by authorities in September of last year. Unlike previous instances of infidelity, this one was obviously highly criminal in nature. It has been revealed the Mr. Weiner started communicated with the girl back in January of 2016. Mr. Weiner was arrested on Friday by authorities, and on the same day was brought to court, where he admitted to his actions. At the same time, Mr. Weiner’s wife, Huma Abedin, has allegedly filed for divorce.

Further Reading:

Anthony Weiner pleaded guilty to ‘sexting’ a teen girl. Then his estranged wife filed for divorce. – The Washington Post


Fox News Founder Roger Ailes has died at 77

Roger Ailes, the man who founded Fox News and the Fox Television Stations Group, has died at the age of 77.  The announcement was made Thursday. The medical examiner has revealed that his death has been most likely a result of subdural hematoma, which was made worse by his hemophilia. It has been reported that about a week ago he had fallen and struck his head; an accident which has been linked to causing his death. Mr. Ailes was the founder of Fox News, and was a dominant force in politics  for decades.  As both the founder and CEO of Fox, he had provided a voice to the Republican party and conservative citizens. However, his tenure as CEO of Fox News ended in heavy scandal around a year ago on July 21st, when he resigned after facing a copious amount of sexual harassment lawsuits and accusations from many different women, including even female anchors for Fox News. Mr. Ailes continues to be a highly polarizing figure, as shown in the vast spectrum of reactions to his death. 

Further Reading:

Roger Ailes, who built Fox News into a powerhouse, dies at 77 – CNN Money

How Roger Ailes Polarized TV News – FiveThirtyEight 


Sweden Ends Criminal Investigation into Julian Assange

Julian Assange, the man who founded and spearheads the organization WikiLeaks, has been released of allegations of rape. Sweden has been carrying out a criminal investigation of Mr. Assange’s alleged crime, and for five years they have attempted to extradite him. Mr. Assange is currently in London, however he is hiding out at the Ecuadorean Embassy, where he had escaped to in order to dodge Swedish and British officials who were attempting to arrest him. This had occurred five years ago, and Mr. Assange has stayed at the embassy since then. Mr. Assange, in a tweet, said that he felt vindicated that he was cleared from this criminal charge, lamenting how these accusations have hurt his name and prevented him from seeing his children grow up. However, despite being released from criminal prosecution by Sweden, if he still attempts to leave the Ecuadorian embassy, British officials will most likely arrest them for a much less heinous crime of skipping bail. However, British officials have promised to limit surveillance on him.  In regards to extraditing him, British officials have given no comment.

Further Reading:

Julian Assange: Sweden drops rape investigation – BBC


Nick Peters, News Co-Editor

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