×
January 16, 2019

"It is Day 25 of the government shutdown, which is great news for everyone whose New Year's resolution was lawless anarchy," Stephen Colbert joked on Tuesday's Late Show. But "it's been hard on government employees, particularly the president. His popularity had taken a nose dive," even on his favorite poll, Rasmussen. "He's cratering," Colbert said. "By the time the election rolls around, he could lose to the ticket of Chlamydia/Ted Cruz 2020."

Still, "at least one good thing has come out of the government shutdown: A giant pile of hamburgers," Colbert said. He reveled in the photo of Trump standing before the 300 hamburgers he bought for Clemson's champion football team. If Trump's using his pile of burgers to distract everyone from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation and his tanking poll numbers, "I'm totally into it," Colbert said, especially if it comes with presidential tweets about serving "over 1,000 hamberders."

"That's right, 'hamberders,'" Jimmy Kimmel laughed on Kimmel Live. "How does that happen? The 'e' and the 'u' aren't even near each other on the keyboard! It's like in the middle of tweeting he had a stroke or something. Or is it possible he thought they were called 'hamberders' until today?" Before Trump took down the tweet, he was trolled by Burger King, among others, Kimmel noted. He trolled Trump, too, with a special person-on-the-street quiz. He also pointed out that Trump himself said he ordered 300 burgers, not 1,000. "He has to lie about everything, he can't help it," Kimmel said. "Or maybe he ate the other 700 hamberders himself."

The Daily Show's Trevor Noah found the whole burger-by-candlelight thing eerily on-brand: "If you combine any fancy thing with any garbage-y thing, that's Trump's style, right? McDonald's by candlelight, caviar in a porta-potty, him in the White House. It's just the mix. But I will say this: If the government shutdown means that Trump gets to eat cheeseburgers every night, then this thing is going to last forever." Watch below. Peter Weber

10:47 a.m.

Today in wild misinterpretations: Russia is somehow claiming that Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report — specifically intended to outline the evidence regarding Russia's interference in the 2016 election — didn't uncover "a single piece of evidence" pointing to illegal meddling.

Mueller, of course, bolstered U.S. intelligence conclusions by stating Russia interfered in the 2016 election in a "sweeping and systematic fashion." Mueller determined that President Trump's campaign did not criminally coordinate to aid in the interference, but the report plainly lays out that interference occurred. Reuters reports that Russia’s foreign ministry dismissed the findings on Friday, breezing past the evidence that showed the Kremlin working to find Hillary Clinton's "missing" emails, the Russian troll farm that waged a social media disinformation campaign, and the contact between Russian operatives and Trump campaign officials that sought to push Russian influence in 2016.

"The report confirms the absence of any arguments to the effect Russia allegedly intervened in the U.S. election," claimed Georgy Borisenko, the director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s North America Department in Russia's news outlet TASS. "Not a single piece of evidence is there. The authors of the report have in fact confessed they have nothing to report." Mueller may have something (like a couple hundred pages) to say about that. Summer Meza

10:15 a.m.

House Judiciary Chair Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) issued a subpoena on Friday to obtain the full, unredacted version of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report on Russian election interference and the Trump campaign's conduct surrounding the meddling, reports The New York Times.

The House Judiciary Committee approved the subpoena earlier this month, anticipating a desire for an unredacted report and Mueller's underlying documentation. The subpoena has now been fired off, demanding to see Mueller's evidence and summaries of key witness interviews by May 1.

If Attorney General William Barr ignores it, the Judiciary Committee could hold him in contempt, setting up a potentially lengthy court battle.

Nadler said the report was troubling and "it now falls to Congress to determine the full scope of that alleged misconduct." In addition to requesting "the full version of the report and the underlying evidence," House Democrats have called on Mueller to testify publicly to clarify some of his findings. Read more at The New York Times. Summer Meza

9:27 a.m.

President Trump was abnormally silent in the hours following the public release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report, choosing mostly to tweet quotes from his favorite Fox News commentators, and only briefly crowing about the findings during a White House event. He didn't even stop to talk to reporters on the White House lawn on Thursday, despite bragging in recent weeks about the report's "total exoneration" of him and his campaign.

On Friday, Trump changed his tone, dismissing elements of the report as "total bulls--t" on Twitter. He didn't specify which statements he considered "fabricated & totally untrue," but did appear to possibly reference former White House counsel Don McGahn, who Mueller said refused to end the special counsel investigation at Trump's request. McGahn apparently felt Trump was asking him to do some "crazy sh-t," and was also somewhat alarmed when Trump criticized him for taking notes, something Trump seemed to reference in his angry tweets. Summer Meza

9:09 a.m.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders acknowledged to Special Counsel Robert Mueller that a claim she once made about former FBI Director James Comey wasn't "founded on anything," but she's refusing to admit it was an intentional falsehood.

Mueller's report revealed Sanders admitted she baselessly told reporters that "countless members of the FBI" had complained about Comey, while Mueller said "the evidence does not support those claims." But Sanders explained herself by describing the remarks as a "slip of the tongue." On Friday, Sanders told ABC News' George Stephanopoulos grilled Sanders about the admission on Good Morning America.

But Sanders wouldn't even concede that her comments to Mueller were any kind of admission. Stephanopoulos pushed back on her assertion that the falsehood could simply be an accident. "That's not a slip of the tongue, Sarah, that's a deliberate false statement," he said. Sanders claimed her misstatement didn't actually misrepresent the situation.

"Actually, if you look at what I said," she argued, "I said the slip of the tongue was in using the word 'countless,' but there were a number of FBI, both former and current, that agreed with the president's decision [to fire Comey] and they've continued to speak out," she said.

Stephanopoulos pointed out that she had pushed the same talking point on multiple occasions, asking "Why can't you acknowledge that what you said then was not true?" Watch the clip below. Summer Meza

8:21 a.m.

Two ACLU lawyers wrote a letter to New Mexico authorities requesting an investigation of a right-wing militia group that has been detaining groups of migrant families at gunpoint before handing them over to Border Patrol agents near the U.S.-Mexico border.

Members of the group, the United Constitutional Patriots, this week posted video of about 200 migrants apparently stopped near the border. "We cannot allow racist and armed vigilantes to kidnap and detain people seeking asylum," the lawyers, María Martínez Sánchez and Kirsten Greer Love, said in the letter.

Hector Balderas, New Mexico's attorney general, said the group's members "should not attempt to exercise authority reserved for law enforcement." Jim Benvie, a spokesman for the group, said its actions were legal, like "a verbal citizen's arrest." Read more at The New York Times. Harold Maass

8:07 a.m.

The Kremlin announced Thursday that Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for a summit later this month.

The news marked the latest indication that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has pivoted toward Russia since the February collapse of his second summit with President Trump without a deal on denuclearization and the lifting of U.S. sanctions. A day earlier, North Korea test-fired a new tactical guided weapon, the isolated Communist regime's first public weapon test since Kim's first summit with Trump last year.

Russia said Putin invited Kim. Russian media said Putin would meet Kim in Vladivostok on Russia's Pacific coast as Putin heads to a summit in Beijing. Read more at The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post. Harold Maass

April 18, 2019

Sure, the Mueller report dropped today. And sure, it's a few hours before a holiday weekend. But Facebook has a bit of unfortunate news to share with you.

Remember last month, when Facebook said it stored a whole bunch of passwords in plain text when they should have been encrypted, potentially affecting "tens of thousands" of Instagram users? Yeah, it quietly updated that blog post Thursday to say it's more like "millions of Instagram users."

In the blog post first unveiled last month, Facebook said it would tell "hundreds of millions of Facebook Lite users" and "tens of millions of other Facebook users" that their passwords were stored in an unencrypted database available to 20,000 Facebook employees. Now, a few more Instagram users get to join the fun. Facebook said it found "no evidence to date that anyone internally abused or improperly accessed the passwords," though given the site's very shaky past year, that's not too reassuring.

The news comes just a few hours after Facebook told Business Insider that it collected email contacts from 1.5 million users who signed up after May 2016 and "unintentionally uploaded" them to Facebook. The addresses were collected when users typed in their email passwords to verify the addresses they'd signed up with. Facebook didn't tell these users their email contacts would be imported into the site, but there was no way to opt out of the upload or cancel it once it began. Facebook said those contacts were "used to improve Facebook's ad targeting," Business Insider writes in yet another reassuring addition to Facebook's track record. Kathryn Krawczyk

See More Speed Reads