Executive summary tips and why the Barr/Mueller summary is driving everyone nuts

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Don’t summarize: drive points home with highlights. That’s how you should summarize a long report. It’s also why no one is satisfied with Attorney General William Barr’s summary of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report. If you write, you have to write summaries. Think of a summary as a movie trailer: it gives you the general … Continued

Paul Manafort, Michael Cohen, and the risks of analytical optimism

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True analysts cannot afford optimism. To make an accurate prediction, you cannot let what you want to happen color what is likely to happen. But that’s exactly what I’ve seen in the wake of the conviction of Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and the guilty plea from his former lawyer Michael Cohen. Trump-haters are … Continued

What is Donald Trump really saying in his New York Times Oval Office interview?

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The New York Times published a far-ranging and, in places, incomprehensible Oval Office interview with Donald Trump. It’s rambling and strange. As a result, there can be no definitive interpretation — like a Rorschach test, you see in President Trump’s words whatever you want to see. Here’s one interpretation — what I think I heard. … Continued

Republican talking points on the obstruction investigation: argumentation or “whataboutism”?

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According to the Washington Post, FBI special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating Donald Trump for obstruction of justice. The Post’s White House Bureau Chief Philip Rucker tweeted a picture of the Republican National Committee’s talking points to rebut the story. It’s a good case study in the difference between blowing smoke and actual counterarguments. Talking … Continued