TPM Cafe: Opinion

In an order signed late Friday afternoon, the federal judge presiding over the federal trial of two former members of N.J. Gov. Chris Christie’s inner circle issued a subpoena ordering the governor’s lawyers to hand over notes and computer files used to produce the so-called Mastro Report.

Named after Randy Mastro, a partner at the white collar firm Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, the taxpayer-funded report was crafted at Christie’s behest in early 2014 to support his claim to have had no knowledge of the planning of four-day-long lane closures at the George Washington Bridge. According to federal prosecutors, the target of those closures was Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich, a Democrat who declined to endorse Christie’s 2013 re-election campaign.

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Two weeks ago Senator Claire McCaskill, a Hillary Clinton enemy-turned-supporter, told Morning Joe’s audience what they already knew, that Bernie Sanders is “frankly, a socialist.” Whereas Obama denied the socialist accusation, Sanders affirms it, and the “s” word has done little to stifle the senator’s popularity. A week after responding to McCaskill, Sanders held a 10,000-person rally in Wisconsin. The following day, his aides announced his campaign has raised $15 million, and the following weekend he dressed down to stroll through a wholesome Fourth of July parade in Iowa, where the latest polls show the Clinton-Sanders gap has been cut nearly in half.

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The collision between the Obama Administration and the courts continues, even though the Supreme Court in King v. Burwell rejected the attempt to gut Obamacare. Next up: the lawsuit to invalidate the president’s executive action on immigration.

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Yesterday, the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington ruled 11-0 that a ban on federal campaign contributions by individuals who contract with the government is constitutional. After a wave of controversial decisions by Supreme Court that have unleashed a flood of big money into politics, this appeals court decision sends a clear message: Sometimes, more money in politics can be a very bad thing.

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As Bernie Sanders’ crowd sizes and early-state poll standings rapidly rise, a lot of pundits who are seeing the veteran senator in a new light are undoubtedly beginning to ask the question: Who is this guy, really? And the answer the pundits crave cannot be found in his biography or his campaign message, but involves the precedent we can use to understand what he represents. What iconic—or for that matter, completely forgotten—presidential candidate of the past does he most resemble?

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In recent days, despite substantial business and financial losses, GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump has doubled down on his anti-Mexican rhetoric. Along with repeating his claims about rapists and criminals, Trump added the argument that “tremendous infectious disease is pouring across the border,” among other extreme assertions. While many of Trump’s fellow GOP presidential hopefuls have worked to distance themselves from his xenophobia, Senator Ted Cruz has supported Trump. And prominent right-wing media leaders have likewise expressed their agreement, from Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity to Ann Coulter, whose most recent book, Adios America!, is an extended, xenophobic diatribe against Mexican-American immigrants and culture.

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There’s a key element missing from this year’s remake of the classic Tobe Hooper-directed, Spielberg-written film Poltergeist. Like many remakes, it has a cargo-cult feel to it, ritualistically going through the motions of reenacting scenes or mimicking tropes without quite understanding the significance of the 1982 film it’s trying to replicate. What the remake fails to understand is that Poltergeist is much more than just a story about a haunted house. It’s also a scathing critique of suburbia—a scathing conservative critique.

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It’s hard to believe that there could be new developments in the Bill Cosby story, considering that the alleged rapes happened years, often decades ago, but here we are: The Associated Press managed to get a court to release documents, despite Cosby’s lawyers fighting them tooth and nail, that reveal that Cosby admitted to premeditated drugging of women for sex. The documents, from a 2005 lawsuit from one of his alleged victims, show that Cosby admitted to buying Quaaludes for this purpose in the past and to drugging at least one woman with three half-pills of Benadryl.

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