Read: Democrats release Ukraine scandal texts from State Department officials

On Thursday night, House Democrats released a series of text messages involving State Department officials related to the Trump-Ukraine scandal.

The texts involve, at various points, Kurt Volker (then the US special representative for Ukraine), Gordon Sondland (the US ambassador to the European Union), Bill Taylor (the top US diplomat at the US embassy in Ukraine), Rudy Giuliani, and Andrey Yermak (an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky).

You can read the texts below, or at this link.…

The Good Place’s final season looks a lot like its first season

“A Girl from Arizona, Part 2” cements what last week’s Good Place season premiere suggested: The show’s final season is going to be a spin on its first, where the characters we know and love (as well as the audience) are in on everything from the first. (Tangent: It’s really remarkable how careful The Good Place was to not become dominated by twists after it pulled off such an amazing one in its season one finale. Most shows would have given in to the temptation!)

This episode contains some great signs that a spin on season one might work. Eleanor’s …

Vox Sentences: Internet down and protesters out in Iraq

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Migrant DNA collection program to expand; Iraqi protests met with force.

The Trump administration wants migrants’ DNA

A Border Patrol agent apprehends illegal immigrants shortly after they crossed the border from Mexico into the United States on Monday, March 26, 2018 in the Rio Grande Valley Sector near McAllen, Texas. Loren Elliott/AFP/Getty Images
  • The Trump administration plans to move forward with a program that collects and tests DNA from immigrants in federal detention, raising concerns about violations of privacy. [Vox / Nicole Narea]
  • A 2005 law requires federal law enforcement to collect DNA from

Facebook’s commitment to privacy is about to be tested

Mark Zuckerberg says he’s convinced that the future of Facebook is private. He now has the first test of that conviction.

The Justice Department is preparing to ask Facebook to slow down its plan to encrypt its messaging services across its platforms, setting up a possible standoff between Facebook and the federal government. Facebook has made this encryption a centerpiece of its corporate future, both as a business strategy but also as a way to position Facebook as friendly to its users amid new scrutiny from privacy activists and regulators.

But it turns out that the federal government isn’t happy …

Why HR is powerless to effectively handle sexual harassment claims

Nobody goes looking for a meeting with HR. That had always been Maya’s* thinking. Even after she was sexually harassed by wealthy board members on the job, rather than report the incidents to HR, she did what so many employees do — she tried to manage it.

“I side-stepped hugs and squeezes, redirected conversations when it turned to my appearance, and politely ask not to be called ‘doll’ or ‘kitten,’” she told me.

However, when a board member made sexual advances to a college intern on her team, Maya felt differently. She was compelled to report the incident to HR. …

One of Peter Thiel’s closest aides might run for the US Senate

One of Peter Thiel’s closest associates is seriously considering running for US Senate, a bid that would test Thiel’s political heft against a candidate endorsed by Donald Trump.

Blake Masters, one of Thiel’s senior-most aides, is preparing for a possible GOP primary challenge to Martha McSally, the Arizona senator appointed earlier this year to replace John McCain, Masters confirmed to Recode on Wednesday. The Arizona Republic first reported that Masters is laying the groundwork to run for office.

“We need to keep this seat Republican. And we need a GOP that puts voters before donors. Martha McSally lost a winnable …

Vox Sentences: Who’s in charge in Peru?

Vox Sentences is your daily digest for what’s happening in the world. Sign up for the Vox Sentences newsletter, delivered straight to your inbox Monday through Friday, or view the Vox Sentences archive for past editions.

Harvard wins lawsuit against its affirmative action program; Peru faces leadership and constitutional crisis.

A win for affirmative action (for now)

Steven Senne/AP
  • A district court ruled the Harvard University admissions process doesn’t discriminate against Asian Americans — the first step on a long road that’s likely to end with another challenge to affirmative action at the Supreme Court. [Boston Globe /

The Democratic gun violence forum turned into a substantive clash over policy

The Democratic Party has moved to the left on issues such as health care, college, and taxes on the wealthy. Now some Democratic candidates are trying to get the party to do the same on guns.

But divisions on just how far the party should go were on display when nine leading Democratic presidential candidates talked about containing gun violence at an MSNBC forum on Wednesday.

The candidates still agreed on a lot. They talked up universal background checks, repeating the words “common sense” again and again. An assault weapons ban got wide support, with candidates decrying “weapons of war …

Cities are considering safe injection sites. A federal judge just said they’re legal.

Several American cities are rallying around a new response to the opioid epidemic: safe spaces for using heroin.

The concept has gained traction in New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and other cities across the US. The thinking is to allow supervised drug consumption sites where people can use drugs with sterile injection equipment and the supervision of trained staff, who are ready with the opioid overdose antidote naloxone if anything goes wrong. The sites may also link people to addiction treatment on request.

The idea: While in an ideal world, no one would use dangerous and potentially deadly …

Transparent waves farewell, from the far-off shores of 2014

I still remember the way I felt the first time I watched the Transparent pilot.

Maura, the trans parent of the title, had gathered her children to come out to them. The kids continued to refer to her as “Dad,” and Maura was in so-called “guy mode,” the armor that trans women early in transition wear for uncomfortable situations. But I knew what Maura was going to say. The way her hands trembled as she began to talk, the way she struggled to speak over her kids, the way she finally resigned herself to “not tonight” — it felt …