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Over the past weeks, our team has begun indexing millions of news articles across the web and running them through the BitpressRank algorithm to calculate the trust of each article and publisher. While we’re working to make this data accessible on demand, we’re going to post our analysis of the top stories every day as part of our Newsgraph series.

Here are today’s 10 most talked about stories in the media, as determined by crosslinks between media organizations.

The List

  1. Mueller Plans to Wrap Up Obstruction Inquiry Into Trump by Sept. 1, Giuliani Says (New York Times)
  2. Trump Grappling With Risks of Proceeding With North Korea Meeting (New York Times)
  3. Mario Batali and the Spotted Pig NYC (CBS News)
  4. A Border Patrol agent detained two U.S. citizens at a gas station after hearing them speak Spanish (Washington Post)
  5. China Considers Ending Birth Limits as Soon as This Year (Bloomberg)
  6. Justice Department calls for inquiry after Trump demands probe into whether FBI ‘infiltrated or surveilled’ his campaign (Washington Post)
  7. Stopping Robert Mueller to protect us all (The Hill)
  8. Analysis: China is winning Trump’s trade war (Washington Post)
  9. What You Need To Know About The Violent Animals Of MS-13 (Whitehouse.gov)
  10. Iran says Europe’s support for nuclear deal not enough (Reuters)

Mueller Plans to Wrap Up Obstruction Inquiry Into Trump by Sept. 1, Giuliani Says (New York Times)

The #1 story of the past 24 hours comes from an interview between The New York Times and Giuliani, wherein he claims Mueller will wrap his investigation up by Sept. 1st.

This story is heavily tied to the stories about the FBI informant released Friday evening by The New York Times and The Washington Post (see our summary here).

Several center outlets have pointed out Guiliani’s claim was likely to pressure Meuller into negotiating about a potential interview.

According to Reuters, Guiliani made up the Sept. 1 deadline:

Giuliani was quoted by the New York Times later on Sunday as saying that Mueller had said the investigation would wrap up by Sept. 1.

A source familiar with the probe called the Sept. 1 deadline “entirely made-up” and “another apparent effort to pressure the special counsel to hasten the end of his work.”

The Hill offers a theory for this move:

The Washington Post, which spoke with Giuliani later on Sunday, reported that Mueller said he could end the investigation by September if Trump agreed to be interviewed.

Giuliani’s announcement of a deadline was seen as an effort to publicly pressure Mueller as Trump’s lawyers negotiate with his team about the potential interview.

What the Right is saying

While not explicitly confirming this, many conservative outlets are using the story as a chance to give various reasons why an interview with the president would be a bad idea, and to claim the president should have access to the alleged FBI informant before any interview.

Fox News says:

Giuliani added that he wants Mueller’s investigation wrapped up by Sept. 1 so that it doesn’t affect Republican chances in November’s midterm elections.

[…] Giuliani also told Fox News that an interview with Trump would be contingent on having access to an FBI informant who met with members of the Trump campaign in 2016.

The Daily Caller says:

The former New York City mayor also said that an interview with the special counsel would be a distraction from the president’s scheduled meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

What the Left is saying

Liberal outlets seem more focused on dismissing Trump’s claims regarding the FBI informant allegedly “spying” on the trump campaign, and casting doubt on the timeline Giuliani is suggesting.

Vox says:

What Mueller’s team actually said behind closed doors is not known, and we certainly shouldn’t take Giuliani’s word for it as he leaks it all over town.For one, Giuliani might not be describing it accurately.

[…] With all that in mind, Mueller’s alleged “offer” to wrap up at least part of the Trump investigation by September 1 might sound like a tempting prospect. If you do the interview, the suggestion seems to be, we think we can get this out of the way before the midterms.[…] But that might just be intended as a sweetener to get Trump to agree to the interview. If any assurance actually was given, we don’t know how rock-solid it was.

MSNBC points out this isn’t the first time one of Trump’s advisors has hazarded a guess as to the end of the probe:

Like so much of Giuliani’s rhetoric, this is awfully strange. First, this is the sixth prediction Trump World has made about Mueller’s end point. Since predictions one though five were completely wrong, it’s tempting to think these guys would stop peddling guesses.

USA Today draws parallels with the special prosecutors investigating Bill Clinton:

Given the complexity and size of Mueller’s task, it’s unreasonable to expect him to finish in the short term. However, the clock is ticking.

Mueller’s defenders will argue that independent or special prosecutors have taken years to finish their work (the Whitewater probe of President Clinton took nearly a year-and-a-half just to bring its first charges).

Ironically, in an opinion piece published by the Hill, Mark Penn, a Democratic political strategist working with Clinton through the impeachment, condemned the Meuller probe, showing opinions are still strongly divided.

Stopping Mueller isn’t about one president or one party. It’s about all presidents and all parties. It’s about cleaning out and reforming the deep state so that our intelligence operations are never used against opposing campaigns without the firmest of evidence. It’s about letting people work for campaigns and administrations without needing legal defense funds. It’s about relying on our elections to decide our differences.

Trump Grappling With Risks of Proceeding With North Korea Meeting (New York Times)

What the Right is saying

The National Review (Right) appear to be condemningthe president over the current situation with North Korea.

This is why it’s difficult to follow an impulsive leader.

Mr. Trump was both surprised and angered by a statement issued on Wednesday by the North’s chief nuclear negotiator, who declared that the country would never trade away its nuclear weapons capability in exchange for economic aid, administration officials said.

North Korea’s shift was unpleasant and out-of-the-blue, but not really out of character. No doubt they would threaten to walk away from the table the moment they thought they could wring a concession out of the United States.

And they’re already getting concessions:

Who’s got leverage now?

The Daily Caller shifts the blame to China and South Korea:

Trump and Moon spoke over the phone this past weekend, and the two leaders will meet in Washington Tuesday. “It increasingly looks like the Moon administration overstated North Korea’s willingness to deal. Moon will probably get an earful over that,” Robert Kelly, a North Korea expert and professor of political science at Pusan National University, tweeted Sunday.

Trump has already accused China of negatively influencing North Korea, perhaps taking steps to shift the blame should the upcoming summit fail to produce the desired results

What the Left is saying

MSNBC interestingly refers to the situation in much the same way as the national review, saying the president may have given North Korea too much.

The New York Times reports that the American president is seeking advice on whether to proceed with plans for the summit. The article added that White House officials are concerned that Trump has already “signaled that he wants the summit meeting too much,” creating leverage for North Korea, complicated by the fact that the Republican still doesn’t want to do his homework.

CNN also criticizes the lack of understanding the Whitehouse has on the situation.

Many experts on North Korea have expressed alarm over the speed of negotiations and Trump’s reported unwillingness to be briefed on some key issues. Robert Kelly, a professor of political science at South Korea’s Pusan National University, told CNN there was a “real competence gap on the American side.”

“The Trump administration is going into this very, very quickly,” he added, saying the most sensible solution would be to slow things down, postpone the meeting for six to eight months, and allow negotiators to “hammer out a framework to narrow the differences between the two sides.”

Analysis | China is winning Trump’s trade war (Washington Post)

What the Right is saying

Much like the North Korea story, several center-right outlets appear to be criticizing the president over what they see as weak concessions with China.

Real Clear Politics published a piece titled “Trump Caters More to Evangelicals Than the Working Class”, in which theycriticize trump for abandoning his stance on China while still delivering on several promise Trump has made to Evangelical supporters.

Last week President Trump appeared to undercut his repeated promises to get tough with China. He renounced his own administration’s sanctions on electronics maker ZTE and conceded on Twitter, “Too many jobs in China lost.”

[…] Then yesterday, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin announced a suspension of last month’s tariffs on China, telling “Fox News Sunday,” “We’re putting the trade war on hold.”

His son-in-law, Jared Kushner, said at the Jerusalem ceremony, “When President Trump makes a promise, he keeps it.” But Trump’s promises to his evangelical supporters seem more ironclad than his promises to the Iron Range. Why is that?

Mediatite points out that Fox and Friends, a show traditionally very friendly to the Trump administration, slammed Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin over the latest U.S.-China trade negotiations.

Fox & Friends host Brian Kilmeade trashed Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin over the latest U.S.-China trade negotiations, calling him a “disaster” who caved “like a cheap suit.”

Mnuchin announced on Sunday that the U.S. would be suspended its plan to impose steep tariffs on China, in a bid to ease tensions ahead of trade negotiations. The move has been seen as a win for China, which was vague in its commitments and did not give up any new concessions.

What the Left is saying

Politico calls attention to the bipartisan discontent around the deal:

HARDLINERS UNHAPPY — Via the FT’s Shawn Donnan and Tom Mitchell: “A vague agreement by the US and China to continue talking and try to reduce the trade imbalance between the world’s two largest economies has put off the launch of a trade war and may eventually result in a broader peace. But it has also provoked an angry response from hardliners on both sides, illustrating how difficult any peace will be to achieve.

NY Mag goes even further, claiming not ineptitude or failure on the part of the president, but rather implying this is simply a way for him to advance his own interests.

Trump promises he will deliver “fair trade” with China, and thereby, bring down its tariffs and trade barriers for “the first time.” But the credibility of that first claim is undermined by the impossibility of the second: Chinese tariffs on U.S. goods have “come down,” many, many times in the past.

All of which is to say: Nothing Trump tweeted this morning, or had his administration agree to last week, did anything to contradict the suspicion that — to the extent the president knows what he’s doing in negotiations with the Chinese — what he is doing is using the power of his office to advance his personal financial interests.

What the Center is saying

Business Insider was extremely critical of the situation with China, saying:

Far from keeping the pressure on Beijing, Trump seemed to embrace the vagaries offered in the statement and offer some more of his own, tweeting on Monday: “On China, Barriers and Tariffs to come down for first time.”

Saturday’s statement mentions neither borders nor tariffs.

So while Trump may have staved off a full-on trade war between the world’s two biggest economies, it appears he did not meet any of his stated goals and may now be trying to spin a Chinese victory as a diplomatic breakthrough for the US.

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