The Morning Rundown: Mueller fallout and Columbine's legacy

All the most important lines from the special counsel's report, plus we speak with those still mourning 20 years after the Columbine massacre.

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By Alexander Smith

Good morning, NBC News readers.

We analyze the Mueller report, mourners mark the Columbine massacre 20 years on, and officials make a key announcement on carbon monoxide detectors.

Here's all that and everything else we're watching today:


Mueller's greatest hits

The report by special counsel Robert Mueller may not have revealed a provable conspiracy between Trump and the Russians, but the findings are nevertheless a brutal indictment of his campaign and time in office, according to an analysis by NBC News' Jonathan Allen.

"Taken in sum, Mueller's findings reveal three years of actions by Trump and his subordinates that critics say rattle the very foundations of the American system of governance," Allen writes.

If you have the time, you can read the full 448-page report here. If not, my colleagues have been poring over the tome, highlighting and analyzing the key points:

  • When Trump first found out about Mueller's appointment, he said: "Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my presidency. I’m f****ed."
  • Members of Trump's campaign team had a series of contacts with WikiLeaks over Hillary Clinton's emails.
The Mueller report was released Thursday.NBC News / Getty Images

Over to you, Democrats

While Trump's supporters maintain that Mueller found "no collusion," the report is at pains to point out that this phrase is of no legal consequence.

The special counsel also decided that Justice Department guidance prevented him from making a call on whether to charge the president.

Mueller noted that Congress has its own set of powers.

"It's clear that special counsel Mueller wanted the Congress to consider the repercussions and the consequences," House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said Thursday.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., tweeted she plans to sign onto an impeachment resolution that has been introduced by Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich.

She did note that this would be difficult. The political bar for removing Trump is likely insurmountable as it would take 20 Senate Republicans and all 47 Democrats to oust him.


HUD acts on carbon monoxide detectors

Last month, an investigation by NBC News found that at least 13 people have died from the hazardous gas in federally subsidized housing since 2003.

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On Thursday, the Department of Housing and Urban Development announced it was drafting the first federal rule requiring carbon monoxide detectors in these homes.

"A simple, inexpensive, widely available device can be the difference between life and death," HUD Secretary Ben Carson said in a statement Thursday.

He said the agency plans to implement the new requirement in both publicly and privately owned HUD housing.


Columbine's painful legacy

Tomorrow will mark 20 years since two students walked into Columbine High School and murdered 12 fellow pupils and one teacher.

Two decades on, family, friends and survivors say the pain of that day is refreshed every time there is another mass shooting at a school in the United States.

"It seems like every month there's a new tragedy of some kind somewhere around," said Rick Townsend, whose daughter, Lauren, was 18 when she was gunned down. “It just makes you feel sometimes hopeless.”

Townsend was one of several grieving parents and survivors who sat down with NBC Nightly News to talk about what has changed and what, sadly, has not.

In 1999, 15 crosses were posted above the school in Littleton, Colorado. Eric Gay / AP file

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Plus

  • Federal regulators are discussing whether to hold Mark Zuckerberg personally accountable for Facebook mismanaging users' data, sources say.

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THINK about it

The Mueller report revealed Trump spokeswoman Sarah Sanders lied. It's time for her to resign, Kurt Bardella, a former spokesperson for the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, writes in an opinion piece.


Science + Tech = MACH

To get some much needed perspective on the whirlwind currently enveloping Washington, let's talk about the Big Bang. We all know this was the colossal explosion that, for better or worse, ushered our universe into existence.

But was it that simple?

Could there have been an earlier version of the universe, with its own stars and galaxies? A universe populated, perhaps, by its own creatures, themselves wondering what came before their universe? Cosmologist Renée Hložek looks at these mind-bending questions.


Quote of the day

Trump asked me to "do crazy s***."

— Then-White House Counsel Don McGahn speaking to colleagues after Trump told him that "Mueller has to go,"according to the special counsel's report.


One fun thing

A woman who took a photo of a man and a little girl playing outside Notre Dame Cathedral shortly before it caught fire says the picture has made its way to the family.

The photo went viral after fire struck the Paris landmark Monday. Brooke Windsor, who took the snap, tweeted that "the search is over!"

The family has chosen not to publicly release their names.Brooke Windsor

Thanks for reading the Morning Rundown.

It's been a pleasure as always coming off the bench to sub for Petra Cahill, who returns to the field Monday.

Until then, if you have any comments — likes, dislikes — drop me an email at: alexander.smith@nbcuni.com

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Thanks, Alexander Smith