* Martin wrote earlier about the fact that Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller has impaneled a grand jury in the Trump/Russia case. Shortly after that story broke in the Wall Street Journal, Reuters came out with this:
Grand jury subpoenas have been issued in connection with the June 2016 meeting between Donald Trump Jr., a Russian lawyer and others, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Thursday.
* Here’s what CNN added to the picture:
Federal investigators exploring whether Donald Trump’s campaign colluded with Russian spies have seized on Trump and his associates’ financial ties to Russia as one of the most fertile avenues for moving their probe forward, according to people familiar with the investigation.
The web of financial ties could offer a more concrete path toward potential prosecution than the broader and murkier questions of collusion in the 2016 campaign, these sources said.
One year after the FBI opened an investigation, the probe is now managed by special counsel Robert Mueller. Sources described an investigation that has widened to focus on possible financial crimes, some unconnected to the 2016 elections, alongside the ongoing scrutiny of possible illegal coordination with Russian spy agencies and alleged attempts by President Donald Trump and others to obstruct the FBI investigation. Even investigative leads that have nothing to do with Russia but involve Trump associates are being referred to the special counsel to encourage subjects of the investigation to cooperate, according to two law enforcement sources.
* That CNN story also contained some other interesting tidbits.
In the months that followed [the opening of the FBI investigation in July], investigators turned up intercepted communications appearing to show efforts by Russian operatives to coordinate with Trump associates on damaging Hillary Clinton’s election prospects, officials said. CNN has learned those communications included references to campaign chairman Paul Manafort…
CNN has learned some of the investigators involved in the probe are buying liability insurance out of concern they could become targets of lawsuits from those who are being investigated, according to one of the people familiar with the probe…
[Carter] Page had been the subject of a secret intelligence surveillance warrant since 2014, earlier than had been previously reported, US officials briefed on the probe told CNN.
* Here’s the big news that was buried deep in an article by Eli Lake on how leaks led to the Russian sanctions:
National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster has concluded that [Obama’s National Security Advisor Susan] Rice did nothing wrong, according to two U.S. intelligence officials who spoke to me on condition of anonymity. That might explain why Trump has yet to declassify more information on the prior administration’s unmasking requests.
* On the topic of HBO’s show titled “Confederate,” which will present an alternate reality in which the Confederacy won the Civil War, Bree Newsome writes: “We don’t need a TV show about the Confederacy winning. In many ways, it did.” For a bit of history on that, here is Doug Muder:
After the U.S. forces won on the battlefield in 1865 and shattered the organized Confederate military, the veterans of that shattered army formed a terrorist insurgency that carried on a campaign of fire and assassination throughout the South until President Hayes agreed to withdraw the occupying U. S. troops in 1877. Before and after 1877, the insurgents used lynchings and occasional pitched battles to terrorize those portions of the electorate still loyal to the United States. In this way they took charge of the machinery of state government, and then rewrote the state constitutions to reverse the postwar changes and restore the supremacy of the class that led the Confederate states into war in the first place.
By the time it was all over, the planter aristocrats were back in control, and the three constitutional amendments that supposedly had codified the U.S.A’s victory over the C.S.A.- the 13th, 14th, and 15th — had been effectively nullified in every Confederate state. The Civil Rights Acts had been gutted by the Supreme Court, and were all but forgotten by the time similar proposals resurfaced in the 1960s. Blacks were once again forced into hard labor for subsistence wages, denied the right to vote, and denied the equal protection of the laws. Tens of thousands of them were still physically shackled and subject to being whipped, a story historian Douglas Blackmon told in his Pulitzer-winning Slavery By Another Name.
So Lincoln and Grant may have had their mission-accomplished moment, but ultimately the Confederates won. The real Civil War — the one that stretched from 1861 to 1877 — was the first war the United States lost.
That is precisely why the Confederate insurgency is alive and well today.
* Finally, did you catch Randy Newman’s ode to Putin on the Late Show the other night?