Mueller Lite Kegger and You're Invited
But for real, it's out now. So, what next?
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And there ain't no reason that I should've held on
I can't let you go
And ships slowly baying tryin' to find their way home
But there's nowhere to go
-”NASA” by St. Paul & The Broken Bones
Well, folks. We finally got it: the long-awaited Mueller report.
Last week, a redacted version of the report that Special Counsel Robert Mueller turned in to the Department of Justice was posted online for the public to devour. It was a distinctly anticlimactic resolve to what was a years-long cycle of hype and speculation. We knew about many elements of the investigation already, but it still contained some interesting revelations that could very well inspire Democrats in the House of Representatives to act further. But in certain respects, it was a massive letdown:
The report was uploaded as a PDF but wasn’t searchable until some folks ran it through optical character recognition (OCR) software. The PDF Association was not impressed. On their website, they wrote:
The fact that DoJ chose to deliver an "images only" PDF forces a much larger file-size and loss of searchable text. Effectively, this process "dumbed down" the PDF to a set of images - the same type of content that comes out of a scanner. Admittedly, it is also a crude but effective means of ensuring (beyond redaction) that nothing is released besides images of pages... but the redaction software available to DoJ is fully effective at redacting born-digital PDF files, so image conversion was unnecessary.
Shortly after the report was published, the columns I’ve built on Tweetdeck erupted into a high speed rail of hot take after hot take and tweet after tweet of document screenshots. There was perhaps no one person as online that day as Seth Abramson, who posted a day-long, 452-tweet thread about the report. The president’s defenders grabbed the report and bludgeoned media and Democratic Party leaders who have discussed the topic of “collusion” for the last two years. (Although, to be fair, the president being under federal investigation is the kind of thing that would have been a really big deal at any other point in history and it did warrant significant media attention.)
Based on the merit of what is presented in the report, it is safe to say that Trump did not enjoy this investigation and wanted very much to shut it down. However, cooler heads like, um, Chris Christie appeared to have prevailed in many instances. And as Swin points out here, it’s hard to imagine how different the interpretation of this document would have been in any other presidency.
The release of the report was more than enough reason to log all the way off for the weekend.
Ultimately, the report was whatever the reader wanted it to be. It was long enough for most people not to bother reading all 400+ pages, and that leaves a lot of room for the people paid to have opinions about stuff to cook up their own interpretations of it without facing too much scrutiny.
Someone who believed Trump was the subject of a “witch hunt” because he triggered the libs too damn much was apparently no less likely to believe that; if anything, it appeared to affirm those beliefs. On the flip side, if someone was already convinced that Trump is a Russian asset that took advantage of interference efforts to advance himself in his pursuit of high office, that person is assumed to believe more or less the same after the report was released. I’m inclined to believe that the latter is less off-base than the former, but, hell, I’m reading the news just like the rest of you.
And here we go: the good stuff. Here is some of my favorite very-online-and-how-dare-you-suggest-otherwise content this week.
This is the burning question of our time, and evergreen in pretty much any aspect of life nowadays: “what’s going on here?”
All credit for this one goes to the Redditors on Hasan Piker’s subreddit:
Life exist on a spectrum, and YouTube is no exception.
This Twitter user made a good point about the MAGA chuds of the world and what motivates them toward extreme politics, and subsequently what pushes them away.
Seth Abramson did a God-tier Twitter thread after the Mueller report dropped, but still made time to name-search. What a legend.
A significant portion of the Mueller report was redacted, but not the f-words! What gives?
Ultimately, there was only one good take.
I am in love with this YouTube show, in which hosts prank-call right-wing talk radio hosts. We had Chris on the show a while back (sans pranks).
And finally, I present to you the worst shit I have ever watched in my life.
P.S. I joined hosts of WNYC’s “The Takeaway” on Monday to talk about a militia group called United Constitutional Patriots and their apparent detainment of asylum-seeking migrants at the U.S.-Mexico last week. Here’s the link if you’d like to hear me say the words “um” and “uh” for a national audience.