The Mueller Report, as redacted by William Barr, is now available. It’s 448 pages long, and you can read it, well, basically everywhere, I think, but here it is at the Washington Post. (Also at NPR, in case you hit WaPo’s paywall.)

I haven’t had a chance to read the report and I’m not seeing many roundups of high points from news sources yet. I think the report just hit the web, so I assume it’ll take everyone a bit to get their reporting together.

A few things to know about the report, though:

  1. This version of the report was redacted by William Barr, who is a Trump flunky through-and-through, and who also has a history of covering up shady dealings for shady administrations.
  2. Trump’s attorneys got to see the report before anyone else did, along with the Trump administration and coverup artist Barr. They’re already out in full spin mode, lying their fool heads off and shoveling the bullshit just as fast as they can.

I’ll be back later on with links to good stuff when folks start issuing roundups and analysis of the report.

Updates (Added As I Find Them)

UPDATE: Okay, as of 11am (PST), it seems like the deluge of hot takes has slowed down a smidge. I’ve got some other stuff to handle, so I’m off for a bit. I’ll probably toss up a new post later this afternoon/evening with a roundup of (hopefully) some more nuanced analysis and commentary.

Let’s start off with two from NBC News.

The first one’s about Facebook. This is not surprising to learn, but it turns out Facebook was weaponizing all our personal information to bludgeon advertisers and app developers into playing nice with Facebook. SurprisedPikachu.jpg, right? Basically Facebook was all, “Hey, we have a metric shit ton of personal information we’ll give you… if you do what we want.” And what they wanted was more money and/or access to whatever data various apps were drumming up. If you didn’t do what they wanted, or didn’t spend enough in advertising, Facebook cut you off. Seems like they destroyed some businesses that way, too. Shocking.

The second one’s about all the White House officials who answered Mueller’s questions during his investigation. A (probably heavily and wrongly) redacted version of the Mueller Report’s supposedly coming out this week, and now White House folks are worried that all those questions they answered for Mueller because they thought we and/or their boss, Trump, wouldn’t find out, might get made public. Pardon me while I savor this schadenfreude.

The Daily Beast has a big expose on billionaire pedophile Jeffery Epstein and the semi-secret foundation he used to try to repair his reputation after we found out he was a giant pedophile. There’s all kinds of sordid, horrifying stories about Jeffery Epstein and the people he was friends with. Some of his friends include Trump, Bill Clinton, Woody Allen and Kevin Spacey.

Meanwhile, the Hill is reporting that Roy Moore, hate monger, alleged sexual assaulter, and known religious weirdo is leading the pack of potential GOP opponents of Doug Jones in Alabama. Because of course he is. WTF, Alabama, Moore is garbage, support better candidates.

And to wrap things up, the ridiculous conspiracy theories about the Notre Dame Cathedral fire are flying thick and fast and most of them are anti-Muslim, because we live in the darkest timeline and everything is going to hell in a handcart on greased rails. BuzzFeed News has a roundup of the bullshit.

This is an extremely Monday-ish Monday, y’all. I have, like, zero motivation today.

5 Things to Read Today

  1. William Barr has a history of covering stuff up for shady administrations. Just Security has a write-up of one of his other coverups. Read it here.
  2. The House subpoenaed Trump’s taxes, which they are legally allowed to do for basically any reason. Trump is refusing to comply. Politico has the story.
  3. A version of the Mueller Report redacted by William Barr (see first bullet) is coming this Thursday. Once it’s out, be sure to call your congressfolks and remind them that they are entitled to see an unredacted version and should demand to do so, and that the public should be allowed to see a version redacted by an unbiased third party (at least). Here’s the New York Times article about it.
  4. The Notre Dame Cathedral caught fire today, taking extensive damage. Sounds like they managed to save at least some of the art and artifacts, though. It’s goddamn heartbreaking to see all that history go up in flames. Vox article.
  5. Lifehacker has a pretty good “how to get started getting healthy” article today. Read it.

The Mueller investigation is kind of famous for not leaking, like, anything while they investigated. Until yesterday.

The New York Times broke the news yesterday evening that folks from the Mueller investigation disputed Barr’s summary and conclusions.

Not long after the Times broke the news, the Washington Post had a follow-up with more information. That is, “But members of Mueller’s team have complained to close associates that the evidence they gathered on obstruction was alarming and significant.”

This morning Jonathan Chait, of New York Magazine’s Intelligencer, is pointing out that it looks an awful lot like Attorney General William Barr is covering something up for Trump. And you might be tempted to think Barr wouldn’t do that because he’s definitely, eventually going to get caught. But Chait helpfully reminds us that Barr’s the guy who helped Regan’s bunch cover up Iran-Contra.

So, let’s review:

Donald Trump and his administration have lied and lied and lied. Trump’s administration is jam-packed with people who have all kinds of unsavory ties, along with plenty of folks who’ve been flat busted for various acts of corruption. The Trump administration has demonstrated on a daily basis that they can’t be trusted to tell you that the sky is blue. And if they do tell you the sky is blue, it’s only so they can distract you and pick your pocket while you’re not looking.

This is the administration that hired William Barr, a guy who was already famously involved in covering up for a crappy administration’s illegal actions, as Attorney General.

William Barr’s opinions about whether or not Trump committed obstruction of justice were already quite well known, because he wrote a 19-page memo to the Department of Justice outlining how the president couldn’t be convicted of obstruction, before he was even appointed.

For all these reasons, and so very, very many more, we cannot take Barr’s word, or the Trump administration’s word, on anything. And most especially we can’t take it when it comes to the Mueller Report.

Image credit: Robert Mueller. (Source and licensing.)

Shaking hands with women

Counterpoint: Shaking hands with men, as a woman, is kind of gross and irritating because most of them don’t know how to do it and you end up with that limp-fish handshake. Ug.

Seriously, there’s nothing worse than shaking hands with a man who’s all like, “Oh no, it’s a girl, WHAT DO,” and gives you a floppy-assed, no-grip handshake. Like, do you not know how to shake a hand? Do you do this to other men, too? Did no one teach you how to do this?

It’s a pretty straight-forward process: firm – but not crushing – grip, quick shake, eye contact, smile, introduce yourself. The gender of the shakee doesn’t matter, so you can ignore that part.

I also find it irritating when a woman offers to shake your hand, and then doesn’t know how to do it right. If you don’t know how to do it, don’t offer it.

This seems to happen most often with middle-aged ladies, particularly those in professional, business-y jobs, like they saw men shaking hands and decided to do it too, but never bothered to figure out how.

Dude up there goes on to claim that women just hug hello anyway, so why bother to shake a woman’s hand, blahblahblah, because he’s just a garbage woman-hater, so his opinion on anything doesn’t count anyway, but I would like to point out that most women don’t just go around hugging random people hello. I’m sure there’s a few women out there who do that, but I think most of us save hugging hello for friends and family.

See, here’s the thing: If you’re bald-faced lying all the time, and we find out, then we can’t believe you anymore. You have what’s called a “credibility problem.”

That’s the Trump administration in a nutshell. First day on the job, Trump’s lying about his inauguration crowd sizes. Like, blatantly lying, when there’s photo and eye witness evidence proving that he’s full of shit.

He’s continued to do that for over two years now. Thousands of lies, all fairly easily disprovable.

We know this dude can’t tell the truth. And we know that the people who work for him, his administration, will carry his water without reservation, backing up his obvious lies and adding to them with lies of their own at the drop of a hat.

Trump handpicks his employees specifically for this trait.

The Republican party is happy to go along with it, too, but that’s no surprise. The GOP has always been happy to lie right into your face to further their own ends.

So we know – we know – we can’t believe the Trump administration or the GOP on anything.

That’s why you can’t believe what William Barr has to say about anything Robert Mueller might have reported to him. Even if Barr was himself trustworthy, and that’s pretty damned debatable, the administration he works for is so thoroughly contaminated by liars that we’d have to be fools to believe him on anything.

We have to see the Mueller Report for ourselves. Barr says it exonerates Trump. The GOP says it exonerates Trump. Trump says is exonerates Trump. But they won’t let us see it. Why not?

The only logical answer is that the report is damning, and the Trump administration and the GOP is lying about it. They’re hiding something. They’re covering something up. We have to think that because they won’t show us otherwise and they’ve already proved that they’re liars.

And let’s be clear here. The Mueller Report may very well “exonerate” Trump. Trump’s been a criminal his whole life, so by now he must have figured out how to do some crimes while keeping his hands clean. I’m also willing to believe that Trump and the people in his orbit are just really dumb and generally corrupt, so they may have done a bunch of shady garbage that aren’t actually, legally crimes. Either or both of those things could be true.

Hell, maybe he’s even innocent of conspiracy and obstruction. Pigs might fly, you never know. But we can’t believe that, because Trump and his bunch have spent more than two years in office teaching us that you can’t believe a goddamn word they say.

So if you want to peddle this “Trump is exonerated” trash, you’re gonna have to lay those cards on the table where we can see ’em. Otherwise it’s just more proof that the GOP is full of shit.

5 Things to Read Today

  1. VP Mike Pence had to talk Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats out of quitting because Trump’s been trashtalking Coats and ignoring him. Read it here.
  2. Trump and the GOP are trying to kill Obamacare (AKA, the Affordable Care Act or the ACA) again. Because of course they are. Story here.
  3. You remember that Trump declared a national emergency so he could abscond with money to build his border wall, but then Congress voted to shut down the emergency, but then Trump vetoed their bill, right? Well, the House failed to override Trump’s veto. And then Trump took a billion dollars from the Pentagon to fund building the wall.
  4. Hey, did you know millennials are basically screwed? Like completely, utterly screwed six ways to Sunday? Read all about it. It’s long, but worth your time. Also, fun story format!
  5. This one’s more for fun. So this Kotaku writer, Mike Fahey, had to do emergency surgery last year and it didn’t go well. He ended up in basically a medically-induced coma for three weeks while he recovered. And he dreamed the whole time. I swear, this is the only time anyone telling you about their dreams will be interesting. Check it out.

Attorney General William Barr’s letter covering the principal conclusions of the Mueller Report is out. Read it here.

A few things to note:

  • This is not the actual “Mueller Report.” This is only Barr’s letter about it. Some news sources are announcing this news like it is the actual report. It is not.
  • According to Barr, Mueller finds that there was no Trump-Russia conspiracy. Please remember that we are dealing in the law right now, and the law is a very specific animal, especially in regards to crimes like the one being investigated. If it is true that Mueller found there was no evidence of conspiracy – and remember this is Barr saying this, and Barr is a guy Trump put in place to keep his fat out of the fire – it may be that Mueller just couldn’t prove conspiracy by legal standards.
  • Mueller did find that there was proof of Russia attempting to diddle the 2016 election, and prosecuted a whole bunch of people over that.
  • Mueller was also investigating whether Trump committed obstruction of justice, and to that point, Mueller did not present a conclusion. He instead presented his evidence and left it to the Attorney General, Barr, to come to a conclusion based on that evidence. Mueller specifically says, according to Barr, “While this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”

It’s also important to note that this is not over yet.

We pinned a lot of hopes on the Mueller investigation, but that was never going to be a silver bullet.

No one is coming to save us. We have to save ourselves. Vote in 2020.

A Few Things to Read

  1. Splinter News has a quick primer on the Mueller investigation, handy for folks who haven’t been paying complete attention to it. Read it.
  2. FiveThirtyEight has a few initial thoughts on Barr’s letter. Read.
  3. Vox has some questions that Barr’s letter didn’t answer. Read them.
  4. Lawfare has thoughts on the letter, too. Check them out here.
  5. And finally, Ken White, AKA @Popehat, AKA the Internet’s lawyer friend, has a few thoughts to offer on the letter. Read them here in the Atlantic.

Image: Robert Mueller, 2012. (Source and licensing.)