I was just talking to David Kurtz about this and he noted that coverage of the Russia/Trump story has been simultaneously so cursory and outlandish that anything short of ironclad confirmation of Trump's being a Russian spy will seem like a big come-down and hardly worth noting. I have been talking to various cybersecurity experts today to try to get a handle on just what level of confidence we should have in the claims that Russia hacked the DNC servers and then leaked the email cache to Wikileaks to upend the Democratic convention. As David notes, the Russian hacking part of this is so cartoonish and out there that it's simply hard to know what to make of it, other than the fact that Trump is himself such a cartoonish figure that perhaps it all matches up.
So I thought I'd take a moment to explain what I see as a sober, one-step-at-a-time explanation of what questions need to be answered and explored.
I'm trying to figure out what business deals Donald Trump is doing with Vladimir Putin. But I need to be able to multitask. So did I mention we're doing a really important membership sign up drive to make TPM awesomeness now and in the future? If I didn't, we are. And it's important. If you feel like you need us, then we definitely need you. Take a moment, click here and become part of what we do. Thank you.
Yesterday, Rick Wilson, a Republican operative who has now moved into dissident status as a vociferous Trump critic, suggested that journalists ask Trump the following question: "Do you, or any of your business units have outstanding loans with Russian banks or individuals? If so, how much?”
Newsweek asked and got this answer from Trump spokesperson Hope Hicks: "Mr. Trump does not have any business dealings in/with Russia."
This morning we're publishing the second edition of TPM's new virtual magazine, The Arch with an article (sub.req) on the life of Mary Church Terrell, a pivotal leader of the fight against Jim Crow who most of public memory and much of history has simply forgotten. The Arch is part of our TPM Prime membership program. We hope you love it and I look forward to you feedback and your comments in the comments section.
Conduct a thought experiment. If Mitt Romney or Jeb Bush were the nominee, how would they be dealing with the relationship between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders? My answer: they would be trying to tar Clinton by her association with Sanders and his radical followers. Think about the way Republicans dealt with Barack Obama’s candidacy in 2008. Now pivot to how Donald Trump is dealing with Clinton-Kaine and Sanders.
I'm curious how this speech was crafted, how much of a role Sanders himself had in writing it. (Presumably the same speechwriters from the campaign, with whatever level of rewrites he does, like every other politician.) It was particularly well put together in terms of giving voice to what animated his campaign while pivoting to supporting Hillary and not having either seem forced, contrived or false. That's not the easiest thing to do. That is an understatement. What really brought it together though was that Sanders heart and head seemed very much in it. He managed to bring all the furious intensity he is capable of to this speech. It was really quite something.