Post Reports

Uber says safety is its first priority. Employees aren’t so sure.

Greg Bensinger on Uber’s company-centric safety policies. Matt Zapotsky examines how Attorney General William Barr fits into the impeachment inquiry. And Anne Midgette remembers opera singer Jessye Norman.
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In this episode

How Uber’s investigations unit works to limit the company’s liability
Armed with little more than phone headsets and GPS ride data, a team of less than 100 workers is tasked with managing some of the worst incidents that happen in Uber rides. 

But when they make a determination, Special Investigations Unit staffers are forbidden from routing allegations to police or advising victims to seek outside legal counsel. Instead, they’re coached by Uber to act in the company’s interest ahead of passenger safety, according to 20 current and former investigators. 

“A lot of investigators can remember one or two or five different times where they made the recommendation that enough allegations have come in that this person should not be on Uber anymore, and a manager overturned it for one reason or another,” says technology reporter Greg Bensinger.

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‘This is another data point of him fitting into Trump’s desires to spark investigations’
Attorney General William Barr has held private meetings overseas with foreign intelligence officials, seeking their help with a Justice Department investigation of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of the 2016 election. 

“What we’re learning now is that Bill Barr has personally inserted himself into this,” says national security reporter Matt Zapotsky. “He is taking trips abroad to press his foreign counterparts to help investigate the investigators.”

Barr’s active role underscores the degree to which a nearly three-year-old election still consumes significant resources and attention inside the federal government. His personal involvement may also provide fuel for those pursuing impeachment, as the administration uses executive branch powers to augment investigations aimed at the president’s adversaries. 

“We need foreign countries’ help with investigations sometimes,” Zapotsky says. “But there’s a process that works on a much lower level to make sure that happens. The attorney general personally going over and getting involved is pretty weird.”

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The great American soprano, Jessye Norman
“Jessye Norman truly had the presence of a diva,” says music critic Anne Midgette. “She had this incredibly beautiful face, and she could open her mouth and just unleash floods of sound.” 

The Grammy-winning soprano was a towering figure on the operatic stage. She died Monday at 74, after decades as a pioneering African American musician onstage. 

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About Post Reports

Post Reports is the daily podcast from The Washington Post. Unparalleled reporting. Expert insight. Clear analysis. Everything you’ve come to expect from the newsroom of The Post -- for your ears.