12.15.2017 - 7:53 PM EDT

I think we’re seeing signs that the ground is being laid to fire Bob Mueller and end all investigations into President Trump and Russia. I’m not saying it will happen or that the effort will be successful. But the effort is clearly afoot. Here are the indications (sub req.) as I see them.

12.15.2017 - 4:30 PM EDT

A few moments ago, Rep. Adam Schiff made a point on MSNBC which I think is critical and has been too little noted.

12.15.2017 - 3:41 PM EDT

When you’re this openly demanding that senior FBI officials be fired, you know the move to the purge is well underway. This is very dangerous stuff. All about giving President Trump impunity from the rule of law.

12.15.2017 - 11:08 AM EDT

There’s no downward limit on President Trump’s immigrant bashing and racism. But I want you to listen to this riff. It’s astonishing coming from a US president.

12.15.2017 - 11:04 AM EDT

The extraordinary comments this morning from President Trump – even though they have become par for the course from him – remain extraordinary. He castigated the FBI and dismissed the Russia collusion investigation that the FBI is conducting as a “scam.” He made the remarks to reporters he was leaving the White House to … address the FBI at Quantico.

The key sections (transcript via White House):

12.15.2017 - 10:16 AM EDT

I mentioned a number of the times the close-knit, half-law-&-order, half one step ahead of the law New York City/GOP world without which it’s basically impossible to understand Donald Trump. It’s the Trump world, the Rudy world, the Ailes world and a slew of other mini-tycoons and sometimes politicians who’ve built a certain sort of clannish, often incestuous and uniquely authoritarian-leaning GOP that could only exist in what is one of the richest and also most liberal cities in the world. Allegra Kirkland captures it here in just one paragraph of her look at “Judge Jeanine” Pirro.

12.14.2017 - 7:59 PM EDT

President Trump spoke today with President Putin. From the White House readout …

Readout of President Donald J. Trump’s Call with President Vladimir Putin of Russia

President Donald J. Trump spoke with President Vladimir Putin of Russia today. President Trump thanked President Putin for acknowledging America’s strong economic performance in his annual press conference.

The two presidents also discussed working together to resolve the very dangerous situation in North Korea.

This was an apparent reference to Putin telling an end of the year press conference that the success of the stock market and ongoing economic growth was a sign of the power of President Trump’s stewardship of the economy. This was apparently the main thing they talked about on the phone.

12.14.2017 - 5:41 PM EDT

In recognition of a truly landmark year of stunning scandals and betrayals of the public trust, it’s time to unveil TPM’s nominees for the 11th Annual Golden Dukes!

These awards are named in honor of former Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham, whose enormous bribery schemes made him the poster boy for modern scandal (well, for now). Every year, we select the most outrageous moments of corruption and general dipshittery in this fine nation’s political arena to see who has raised the bar for utter shamelessness.

Last year, we said 2016 would make Duke proud. This year, he may have actually found his heroes.

12.14.2017 - 2:10 PM EDT

The general reaction to Rod Rosenstein’s testimony yesterday was that he did a decent, even patient job explaining to feral Republican lawmakers why there was no reason to consider removing Bob Mueller from his post. Indeed, he said, it was difficult to think of anyone more qualified to serve in the position. But I want to direct your attention to a deeply disturbing aspect of yesterday’s hearing.

12.14.2017 - 12:08 PM EDT

There was a fascinating moment in Paul Ryan’s press conference a few moments ago. It was quick and tucked into a conversation about “entitlement reform.” But it was bracingly specific. Ryan noted that to avoid steep cuts to programs like Social Security and Medicare, American women will need to start having more babies. Here’s the video.

12.14.2017 - 9:07 AM EDT

This is the most surreal and dark story. An outfit called the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting earlier this week published an incredibly lengthy and detailed expose of a Kentucky state representative named Danny Ray Johnson. Last night, moments before I started writing this post on a train home from Washington, Johnson was found on a bridge with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his head. This was a day after defiantly protesting his innocence and refusing to resign his office.

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