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After yesterday's completely fuckbonkers press conference with Donald Trump, the White House announced it was suspending press credentials for CNN's Jim Acosta. Acosta had angered the Great Man by asking too many questions yesterday, including one where he challenged Trump's characterization of Central American asylum seekers as an "invasion," and, after Trump told him to sit down and shut up, another in which he asked about the pipe bombs sent to CNN, which prompted Trump to say, "When you report fake news, you are the enemy of the people." Not that Trump was condoning violence, because Trump would never do such a thing except when he fantasizes about punching protesters in the face or declares a congressman who body-slammed a reporter for asking a question "my kind of guy."


The White House also insisted the suspension of Acosta's "hard pass" -- which allows regular access to the White House without additional screening -- had nothing to do with pissing off the "president," but was instead because he had been a brutal beast to a White House intern who'd been trying to grab the microphone and take it away. Here's the exchange between Acosta and Trump, with the intern grabbing unsuccessfully for the mic (just after the 12-second mark):

The brief contact between Acosta and the intern's arm is what Sarah Sanders says constituted Acosta "placing his hands on a young woman." On Twitter, Acosta replied to Sanders by simply saying "this is a lie," and CNN issued a statement condemning the suspension of Acosta's credentials and saying Sanders had just plain lied and falsely accused Acosta. The network also included a video showing the interaction, in which the intern tried to grab the mic, first reaching over his arm, then under it, at which point his hand came down and touched her arm. Yr Wonkette should note that most people who violently assault people tend not to say, "Pardon me, Ma'am."

Mind you, the Wingnuttosphere insists this is the most brutal assault on video they've ever seen. At the Gateway Pundit, the stupidest guest-blogger on the internet described the "assault" thusly:

Acosta does a quick tomahawk chop on the woman's left arm, briefly knocking her off balance by as she reaches for the mic.

He then cited a legal dictionary's description of assault and battery to prove that Acosta's brief contact was definitely criminal and quite possibly a violation of human rights. And all over the internet, wingnuts swore up and down they'd seen a very definite assault right there on video, and for that matter they were very concerned the brutal beating may have gotten bloodstains on the president's magnificent new clothes, too.

Sanders upped the ante from ridiculous press-baiting (and further stoked this nifty distraction from Trump's latest fuckery against the Mueller investigation) by posting another tweet saying the White House will "stand by" its revocation of Acosta's credential, and including what looks like a doctored slo-mo video of the encounter. This version has no sound (so hey, no "pardon me" to mess up the narrative) and seems to exaggerates the speed of Acosta's hand coming down, making it look like a karate chop.

The video was apparently first posted two hours earlier by very trustworthy Infowars "reporter" and loony Paul Joseph Watson, who's never met a conspiracy theory he didn't like. And now he's apparently actively in involved in creating them, too.

The Twitterverse is filling up with videos demonstrating what sure looks like a clear difference between the frame rate of the original and the Watson video, plus a lot of rightwing loons describing the encounter as everything between a wrestling match and Murder One. Here's a nice two-part debunking; it looks like Watson's video is definitely doctored, with a brief out-of-synch bit compared to the unaltered NBC version.

So now instead of talking about the administration doing serious mcfuckery to the Mueller investigation, at least a part of the press will be spending part of today just Zaprudering the hell out of the video Sanders posted. Which doesn't make this not important, because while obstruction of justice is definitely the greater crime, a White House dishing up faked video to justify its attacks on the press isn't exactly nothing, either. It's exactly the kind of authoritarian fact-gaming Trump and his White House have been using to pursue his war on reality since before Trump was even elected. These people know they're lying, and they simply don't care that their lies are called out, because as WaPo's Greg Sargent explains, this isn't about what actually happened, it's about who has the raw power to define what happened:

So yes, this is definitely a "distraction," but that doesn't make it unimportant. It's part of the entire administration's attempt to create a Potemkin "reality" where law enforcement must be prevented from investigating crimes done by the Trumps, because that's biased, taking children from their parents is a legitimate immigration policy, and you can't even believe your own lying eyes, but need to be told what you just saw. And if you don't believe, here's a better version of what we say you saw.

It's all of a piece, and anyone who points it out is probably some kind of vicious fake newser.

[WaPo / HuffPo/ Business Insider / Aymann Ismail on Twitter / Greg Sargent on Twitter]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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Good morning, America! Attorney General Bill Barr is doing a presser at 9:30 AM EDT about the Mueller report, which nobody will be able to see until around noon or after, once Congress gets the redacted report on CDs. Seeing as that is bullshit, there's no reason to watch this thing, as journalists won't be able to ask him questions about a document they haven't seen. So ... go back to bed, everyone!

Ugh, fine, we guess we will do this, and that is because we care, even though we are quite certain HGTV is doing some kind of very important "Property Brothers" marathon that adds much more of value to the national discourse, and also covers it up with shiplap accent walls. Does Bill Barr do cover-ups with shiplap? No, because he doesn't have the good taste for that.

Reportedly, we are going to hear from Barr why certain things were redacted, including why he thinks certain facts are subject to executive privilege, which is funny because he is not the president and therefore cannot invoke executive privilege. But oh whatever! Details! Robert Mueller won't be there and none of his team will be there, which tells you something about how they feel about this whole process. If they felt like this was on the up-and-up, you'd imagine they might show up to present a united front. As that is not happening, assume the entire thing is a bullshit act meant to help Donald Trump set the narrative for what will otherwise be a very bad day for him.

The New York Times reported last night that the White House has already been briefed on significant portions of the report, because Bill Barr is a rightwing scam artist piece of shit who gives the Trump White House reacharounds. The briefings have reportedly been very helpful for the White House in coming up with how to rebut today's report, which is funny because we thought Trump said this report was a full exoneration, NO COLLUSION, NO OBSTRUCTION. (Actually nope on both counts, since Mueller didn't decide the obstruction question, and even according to Barr's mash notes, he took a very limited view of the conspiracy question, focusing on the Russian government's hack and dump WikiLeaks operation.)

Anyway, assuming Trump is right about full exoneration, we guess Rudy Giuliani's rebuttal will state that Trump is guilty, full stop. Because that's what "rebuttal" means, correct?

Committee chairs in the House including Jerry Nadler, Adam Schiff and Maxine Waters have called upon Bill Barr to cancel today's briefing, as it is useless horseshit. Because Barr literally gives zero fucks about his reputation and apparently is OK with going down in history as a fecal stain on our institutions and the rule of law, the show will go on.

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Now What? Wonkagenda For Thurs., April 18, 2019

Bill Barr's book report, the NRA is doomed, and Johnny Cash will watch over the Capitol. Your morning news brief!

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Morning Wonketariat! Here's some of the things we may be talking about today.

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