Paying for pardons, lost sexual assault emails, radicalization on the right, doctored Venezuelan oil

This week's best document-based investigative journalism

Prospect of Pardons in Final Days Fueled Market to Buy Access to Trump

The New York Times citing documents including copies of payment agreements.

A onetime top adviser to the Trump campaign was paid $50,000 to help seek a pardon for John Kiriakou, a former C.I.A. officer convicted of illegally disclosing classified information, and agreed to a $50,000 bonus if the president granted it, according to a copy of an agreement.

Internal memo reveals Western Australia Police lost six years of sexual assault emails

WAToday citing an internal police memo.

"Records show that email servers started responding to internal users that mail was undeliverable to from 6th August 2012. This indicates that the primary account name was deleted around that time," the memo reads.

How Trump supporters are radicalized by the far right

The Guardian citing far-right playbooks.

The four-page document encourages recruiters to avoid being overtly racist or antisemitic initially when approaching Trump supporters, stating: “Trying to show them racial IQ stats and facts on Jewish power will generally leave them unreceptive..."

China Imports Oil Doctored to Skirt US Sanctions on Venezuela

Bloomberg citing invoices and emails.

In one email, a Swissoil trader urged a counterpart to violate a standard industry practice by keeping the original loading paperwork off a tanker. “Putting original BL on board of a vessel is insane, do not do it,” the trader said, referring to bills of lading.


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We want to celebrate reporting based on government or corporate reports, emails, private chat messages or something equally tangible—as opposed to that based on unnamed sources or rumors.

The idea is imperfect, of course, and some excellent reporting will be based on no documents and some terrible reporting will be based on many documents. But ultimately, it's a great rule of thumb.

According to Documents was created by investigative reporters Girish Gupta and Alexandra Ulmer.

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