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October 26, 2018

President Trump is considering an executive action to block Central American migrants from entering the United States, several administration officials told The New York Times on Thursday.

The Times reports that as soon as Tuesday, Trump, citing national security concerns, could issue a proclamation invoking broad presidential powers to block migrants from coming into the country. The administration would also enact new rules making it so migrants who cross the border between ports of entry can no longer claim asylum. Officials stressed to the Times that the plan could be dropped or revamped.

With the midterm elections less than two weeks away, Trump has been playing to his base, claiming that a caravan of several thousand migrants from Central America, now 1,000 miles away from the southern U.S. border, is a threat. No one knows when the caravan will arrive, or how many of the people will try to enter the U.S. Most are from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala, citing poverty and violence as the reasons why they left. Kerri Talbot, director of the Immigrant Hub organization, told Politico Trump is attempting to make the migrant caravan major news in order to energize his base and "distract voters from core issues like health care." Catherine Garcia

5:35 p.m.

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

4:57 p.m.

It wasn't all about obstruction.

In the redacted version of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report released Thursday, there were also plenty of findings about what sparked this whole extravaganza: Russian election interference. Here are four of them, from the terrifying to the downright comical.

1. A previous Mueller indictment showed that when then-candidate Donald Trump called on Russia to find his opponent Hillary Clinton's "missing" emails in July 2016, they were listening. This full report shows that the GRU, Russia's foreign intelligence agency, took less than five hours to start targeting email accounts within Clinton's personal office after Trump asked Russia to "find those 30,000 emails."

2. Mueller took the time to spell out this whole dilemma, in which former White House staffer Hope Hicks was unsure of how to verify if an email actually came from Russian President Vladimir Putin, and in which Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner forgot the Russian ambassador's name and also how to use Google.

3. The GRU has a "bitcoin mining operation to secure bitcoins used to purchase computer infrastructure used in hacking operations," the report found — an idea the U.S. could perhaps borrow to cut the deficit.

4. A Russian troll farm known as the Internet Research Agency deployed thousands of posts across social media in the U.S. It also did this pretty weird thing, per Mueller's report.

Find the whole report here, and another Russian tidbit about the infamous pee tapes here. Kathryn Krawczyk

4:16 p.m.

If more compromising tapes of President Trump exist, it seems Special Counsel Robert Mueller wasn't able to find them.

Still, that doesn't mean Russians weren't very aware of the so-called "pee tapes" — seemingly nonexistent footage of Trump telling prostitutes to perform some rather disturbing acts rumored to exist in the Steele dossier. And that doesn't mean one Russian didn't game those purported recordings to his advantage.

The somewhat forgotten pee tapes actually got a mention in the redacted Mueller report released Thursday, though not in the way some Trump enemies would've hoped. In a footnote, Mueller said that Trump's ex-lawyer Michael Cohen got a text from a Russian businessman Giorgi Rtskhiladze that said he "stopped flow of tapes from Russia but not sure if there's anything else." Rtskhiladze said a Russian real estate group that helped host the 2013 Miss Universe Pageant in Russia had the tapes. Probably not coincidentally, Trump's alleged pee tape was said to have been made while he was in Russia for that pageant.

The tapes were fake, but Rtskhiladze didn't tell Cohen that, per Mueller's report. Cohen also said he talked to Trump "about the issue after receiving the texts," meaning this rumor could've gone all the way to the top.

There are plenty more details in the Mueller report, though none are quite this scintillating. Read it all here. Kathryn Krawczyk

4:00 p.m.

It's a big day for President Trump, but it is an especially big day for the Democrats who hope to run against him in 2020.

Some candidates issued tweets accusing Attorney General William Barr of bias and unfair redactions:

Other candidates hit the president for putting his own interests ahead of the country's:

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) expressed frustration with the number of redactions in the report:

Sen. Cory Booker's (N.J.) team released their own searchable version of the Mueller report:

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (Minn.) issued a video calling for Mueller to testify:

Several candidates did not issue any statements at all at the time of publication, including Beto O'Rourke, Tulsi Gabbard, and Jay Inslee. Jeva Lange

4:00 p.m.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) doesn't feel any differently about impeachment in light of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report.

Hoyer told CNN's Dana Bash on Thursday that "based on what we have seen to date, going forward on impeachment is not worthwhile at this point." The top Democrat had in January called impeachment talk a "distraction" but said that "we'll have to see what the Mueller report says," per The Hill.

Now that the report is out, Hoyer still feels these issues should be litigated at the ballot box in 2020 rather than through the impeachment process, telling CNN, "Very frankly, there is an election in 18 months and the American people will make a judgement." Hoyer previously made this argument in March and told Fox News that impeachment is an "extraordinarily all-consuming process."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has similarly said that impeaching Trump is "just not worth it," per The Washington Post, but she has yet to make a similar statement since the release of Mueller's report. Brendan Morrow

3:04 p.m.

The differences between Attorney General William Barr's and Special Counsel Robert Mueller's conclusion on obstruction are night and day, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said on Thursday.

Pelosi and Schumer in a statement said the "differences are stark between what Attorney General Barr said on obstruction and what Special Counsel Mueller said on obstruction." They also said that Mueller's report, the redacted version of which was released hours earlier, "appears to undercut" Barr's conclusion that Trump did not obstruct justice.

Barr had said in his four-page summary to Congress that Mueller's report does not make a determination on obstruction but "also does not exonerate him." Barr explained that he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein determined there was insufficient evidence that Trump criminally obstructed justice.

While the report indeed does not reach a conclusion obstruction, it does outline 10 instances of potential obstruction and says that "if we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the president clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state." Mueller's report also says that Congress has the authority to make this determination. Barr said in a press conference prior to the report's release that he "disagreed" with some of Mueller's legal theories on obstruction.

Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Mark Warner (D-Va.) also slammed Barr on Thursday, saying he "fundamentally mischaracterized" the report during his Thursday press conference, while House Judiciary Chair Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) said Barr's statements were "disingenuous" and "misleading." Brendan Morrow

2:59 p.m.

Depending on whom you ask, the president is either having a great day or a terrible one. Luckily, the internet is the winner either way. Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report into Russian election meddling was heavily redacted, as was expected, here are a few of the best spoofs and commentaries about the redactions and how one or two well-placed black boxes can change a whole paragraph. Jeva Lange

7. Pardon?

6. Your sharpie is going to run out of ink.

5. Nothing to see here.

4. This is [redacted].

3. One of those days.

2. Should have seen this one coming.

1. A Tale of Two Special Counsel Reports.

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