Special Council Robert Mueller (R) has concluded his investigation into the Russian government’s interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. As required by law, Mueller today delivered his final report to Attorney General William Barr (R).

Investigations into Russian interference began in 2016 under the authority of the U.S. Department of Justice. After taking office in 2017, Attorney General Jeff Sessions (R) recused himself from the Russia investigation because, as a senator, he had contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak before the election. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein (R) served as acting attorney general with regard to this investigation.

After Trump fired then Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director James Comey (R), and then made controversial comments tying that firing to the Russia investigation, Rosenstein appointed Mueller to continue the investigation as special council on May 17, 2017.

Over the course of the Mueller investigation, various indictments and criminal referrals have been made against Russian nationals involved with election interference. Additional indictments were made against some officials associated with the Trump campaign, including Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, and Roger Stone, for matters not directly linked to Russian interference. A former Trump attorney, Michael Cohen, was also charged with campaign finance violations and fraud. Other sealed indictments have likely been made, but this is unconfirmed and details have not been released. (Ed. note, March 24: A summary report submitted by Barr states that no further indictments are recommended, and no sealed indictments have yet to be made public.)

The law does not require that the special council report be made public, however the attorney general has the authority to release it if he chooses. The U.S. House of Representatives voted this month 420-0 in a nonbinding resolution that called for the report to be released to Congress and to the public (with redaction of classified material or confidential grand jury testimony). Trump has also said that he believes the report should be made public.

In his official notification to Congress that the investigation had been completed, Barr states that he “may be in a position to advise you of the Special Council’s principle conclusions as soon as this weekend.” He additionally stated that he is consulting with Rosenstein and Mueller to “determine what other information from the report can be released to Congress and the public,” and that he is “committed to as much transparency as possible.”

I got my 1977 Jeep J-10 pickup back from the restoration shop near the end of last year. While it is in good mechanical shape, I still have to fix some things that were ‘out of scope’ for their work. I also need to install some aftermarket and improved parts, and generally put my personal stamp on it before it goes into my normal driving rotation. Between the weather and my other commitments, it has been slow going. I can only work on it when the weather permits and when I have some free time. Getting those two conditions to align has been difficult so far, but I expect that it’ll get better when spring comes.

With a handful of small exceptions, it’s easy to get parts for the front half of the J-10. Although the Jeep trucks never sold particularly well, tons of parts are interchangeable with those for the other SJ chassis Jeeps, including the much better selling Cherokees and Wagoneers. The Wagoneer was in production for an incredible twenty-eight years—from 1963 to 1991—and many parts were the same for the entire run. There are tons of original parts out there, and there are enough SJs out there that many OEM-equivalent parts are still being made brand new.

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Northam, Fairfax, Herring

The last week has been unlike anything I’ve ever seen in Virginia state politics. All three of our statewide constitutional officers—the governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general—have been embroiled in controversy.

I try not to jump to conclusions without having access to the facts. So for the past week I have been reading about and digesting these controversies and evaluating the available evidence. I have come to some conclusions about what needs to happen next.

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TeroVesalainen, Pixabay, CC0

Has America’s ongoing obsession with low-gluten diets caused the inexorable increase in mass shooting deaths?

It’s a pretty dumb question, and the obvious answer is “no.” But with some raw data, spreadsheet software, time, and creativity, it’s pretty easy to make a graph that seems to imply a negative correlation between Americans’ average consumption of wheat and the trend in mass shooting deaths.

All you need is the United States Department of Agriculture’s data on wheat consumption, population estimates from the United States Census (1990-2000, 2000-2010, and 2010-present), and the mass shooting data from Mother Jones. Throw all of that into a spreadsheet, do some math, make a graph, and here you go:

. . . Continued

President Bush

Former President George H.W. Bush (R), who was a World War II veteran, businessman, congressman, ambassador, CIA director, vice president, and president, died last night at the age of 94. Bush has been in declining health, and was suffering from a form of Parkinson’s Disease. His wife, Barbara, died in April at the age of 92. Bush is so-far the longest-lived of any U.S. president, and he and Barbara are the longest-married presidential couple.

Bush enlisted in the U.S. Navy on the day he turned eighteen and trained as a pilot. After completing his training, he was commissioned an ensign and, at nineteen, became the youngest naval aviator in history up to that point. He was assigned to the aircraft carrier USS San Jacinto, which was fighting in the Pacific theater of World War II. During one battle, his plane was shot down and he was forced to bail out. He was rescued after about four hours adrift in a life raft.

After the war, Bush, who was originally from New England, became a successful businessman in the Texas oil industry, and eventually became a millionaire.

In 1964 Bush first ran for elective office, unsuccessfully challenging Senator Ralph W. Yarborough (D-TX). Two years later, he was elected to represent Texas’s 7th District in the U.S. House of Representatives. He served two terms in the House, and then ran (again unsuccessfully) for the Senate in 1970. After his second Senate loss, President Richard Nixon (R) appointed Bush as the Ambassador to the United Nations, a role he held for two years.

During the Watergate scandal, Bush become the chairman of the Republican National Committee. Initially he defended Nixon, but, as the president’s involvement in the scandal become more clear, Bush formally asked Nixon to resign for the good of both the Republican Party and the nation. Nixon did so about one week later. President Gerald Ford (R) appointed Bush to serve as envoy to the People’s Republic of China (PRC), a role he held for about fourteen months in 1974 and 1975. We did not have formal diplomatic relations with the PRC at the time, so this was not officially an ambassadorship, although it was similar in practice. For the last year of Ford’s presidency, Bush served as the Director of Central Intelligence.

Bush ran for president in 1980, but was defeated in the Republican primaries by future-President Ronald Reagan (R). Reagan ultimately chose Bush as his vice presidential running mate, and Bush served as vice president throughout Reagan’s two terms as president. In 1988, Bush sought the presidency again, and this time won, becoming the first sitting vice president to be elected president since Martin Van Buren in 1836. His presidency was generally regarded as a success, most notably including the first Persian Gulf War, where Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait was successfully reversed. Politically, Bush was generally regarded as a pragmatic, middle-of-the-road Republican. He sought reelection in 1992, but, facing a national recession and a broken campaign promise on taxes, as well as a charismatic opponent, he was defeated by future-President Bill Clinton (D).

George and Barbara Bush had six children, including former Governor Jeb Bush (R-FL) and former President George W. Bush (R).