"Must read of the morning. @maxseddon & @RosieGray on washed up action star turned Kremlin apologist, Steven Seagal," summarizes Bloomberg View's Eli Lake of this scoop from BuzzFeed (1,600+ shares as of this morn). And yes, apparently it's true--Russian president Vladimir Putin personally asked Obama to make Seagal an honorary consul of Russia. "Barack Obama. Vladimir Putin. A world on the edge. And the only man who could save it... was Steven Seagal. Amazing," reacts Robert Colvile over at BuzzFeed UK. "Seems to me that Obama missed a golden opportunity to troll Putin by not appointing Van Damme as the special envoy," playfully suggests Washington Post's Daniel Drezner. Meanwhile, BuzzFeed's foreign news editor Paul Hamilos notices, "The comments on our Steven Seagal story are suitably thoughtful."
In other news trending high today, it turns out that Elon Musk had a deal to sell Tesla to Google in 2013 but didn't follow through, clearly (2,600+ shares). Jason Rezaian, the Washington Post journalist jailed in Iran, now faces 4 charges including espionage (250+). "Iran embarrasses itself with this case," declares Nicholas Kristoff with the New York Times. Simultaneously, Iran's foreign minister suggests broader engagement on Yemen and other non-nuclear issues (2,500+). "Zarif calls Iran's foreign policy 'holistic.' That would not have been my word choice to describe it," remarks journalist Caroline Baum.
In politics, a major bombshell may be on the horizon for Hillary Clinton in the form of a new book, "Clinton Cash," which questions foreign donations to the Clinton Foundation (~5,000 shares so far). "If true, begs very serious questions. 'Clinton Cash' book alleges Foreign $$ to Clinton Foundation influenced policy," elaborates Bloomberg's Trish Regan. "Looks like a clear quid pro quo that the clintons were indulging in. The writer has not hidden his republican leanings," reflects Business Standard's Jency Jacob. Relatedly, care of the Columbia Journalism Review, here's some worthwhile advice on how not to find a local angle on Hillary (100+). Also in politics, the Fed is very, very leaky, but no one has been caught red-handed since the 80s (200+). And for The New Republic, Michael Eric Dyson chronicles Cornel West's rise and fall, including his turbulent relationship with President Barack Obama (12,000+). "The new new republic goes in on cornel west, like, very very personally. No new niceness here!" concludes BuzzFeed's Matthew Zeitlin.