03.22.2018 - 8:32 PM EDT

I have thought for some time that Facebook is essentially a bad actor in the tech and platform spaces. There aren’t good companies and bad companies of course. All the tech behemoths play in the space that has now landed Facebook in so much trouble. In some ways, Google does even more, certainly when it comes to collecting, mining and monetizing almost limitless amounts of personal information, largely for the purposes of targeting advertising. But Facebook has again and again shown a more nefarious side – it shows up in the indifferent manner in which they deal with people’s personal information. It shows up in the very different realm of how they deal with business partners – creating whole business ecosystems and then pulling the rug from under them when it suits their purposes. There are lots of problems with Google, which I’ve discussed. But they don’t act like that. Not like Facebook.

03.22.2018 - 12:53 PM EDT

So on Wednesday, TPM’s Allegra Kirkland received a tip from a Federal Election Commission staffer: Buried in a recently published FEC rule-making document about requiring online ads to disclose who’s behind them, said the staffer, is an “Easter egg.”

Allegra was getting the tip, the staffer said, because she was the only reporter who correctly noted that the FEC’s recent disclosure that it’ll start looking into whether the NRA received Russian money to help Trump was little more than a standard step in response to a complaint, not a full-blown investigation.

03.22.2018 - 11:53 AM EDT

This is a unique and unorthodox post going out to a single reader, Barbara A., who’s written a number of emails over the last few weeks about the podcast and now the Editors’ Blog. Barbara, you’re writing from a dead or misconfigured email address. So all my replies bounce back. (Seems to be a misconfigured MS outlook app. TMI, I know.)

I try to respond personally to as many emails as I can, though inevitably a small minority of the emails we now get. But for everyone please be sure you’re writing from an email which is properly configured with a reply address. In some cases the issue may be a disconnect between your app and clicking one of our email links. In that case, type in our email manually: talk (at) talkingpointsmemo dot com.

03.22.2018 - 11:33 AM EDT

President Trump’s lead personal attorney in the Russia probe has quit the case, according to reports. John Dowd’s decision comes shortly after Trump added former U.S. Attorney Joseph DiGenova to his legal team.

03.22.2018 - 10:58 AM EDT

As we reported Wednesday, Pennsylvania Republicans have taken the remarkable step of introducing a measure to impeach four of the state Supreme Court’s seven judges. The judges, all Democrats, had angered GOP lawmakers by striking down an extreme gerrymander that favored their party and ordering that it be replaced with a fairer map.

But it’s worth noting that it’s not just in the Keystone State where lawmakers, almost always Republicans, are trying to manipulate state courts in order to make it easier to advance their political goals. The most egregious case is in North Carolina, where the GOP legislature conducted a sweeping overhaul of the state court system after judges blocked parts of their conservative agenda. Among other steps, lawmakers drew new state judicial districts in an effort to boost the number of Republicans on lower courts, and cut the number of seats on the state Court of Appeals so that the Democratic governor couldn’t fill an open seat.

03.22.2018 - 9:48 AM EDT

Good morning. Here’s what our writers and editors have their eyes on today.

03.21.2018 - 10:03 AM EDT

Good morning from snowbound Washington, D.C., and New York, where TPM is based. Here’s what our team is watching today.

03.20.2018 - 3:52 PM EDT

On Monday, the Supreme Court said it wouldn’t get involved in Pennsylvania’s redistricting case. That means the state’s voters will go to the polls this fall using re-drawn congressional districts that aren’t illegally gerrymandered by the GOP.

But it raises a question: North Carolina’s congressional map also was ruled a Republican gerrymander. It was drawn, an appeals court found, with “invidious partisan intent.” In fact, the court found that two districts were not just partisan gerrymanders but racially discriminatory gerrymanders that reduced the impact of black votes. North Carolina’s map, though, is likely to still be in effect this November.

So why do Pennsylvanians get to use fair(-ish) maps while North Carolinians don’t? Blame SCOTUS, basically.

03.20.2018 - 1:49 PM EDT

Episode #5 of The Josh Marshall Podcast is out. This week, we talk to former FBI special agent Asha Rangappa. It’s a fascinating discussion about how counter intelligence investigations operate and why Paul Manafort is a key part of the Trump-Russia story. We also discuss the ongoing Stormy Daniels saga. Listen to the episode here or on iTunes or Google Play. Please subscribe to the podcast and leave a review.  

03.20.2018 - 11:22 AM EDT

An omnibus package needs to pass by Friday to keep the government open. That omnibus is also Congress’ last, best chance to stabilize Obamacare’s individual markets. But Republicans have attached an expansion of the Hyde Amendment into the stabilization legislation, a poison pill for Democrats. Alice Ollstein has that story — and all the other health care news of the week — in our latest sum-up (Prime access).

03.20.2018 - 10:25 AM EDT

Good morning, and happy first day of spring — even if it doesn’t feel like it here on the east coast. Here’s what our team is watching today.

03.20.2018 - 9:26 AM EDT

As we enter the uncharted waters of a President warring with his own Justice Department, the Senate GOP is happy to play the role of Gilligan.

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President Donald Trump on Thursday affirmed that he would still like to speak with...
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