In it, but not of it. TPM DC

The target of Donald Trump’s latest barrage of attacks is no stranger to ugly threats.

Back in the late 1990s, Gonzalo Curiel -- then a federal prosecutor, now the federal judge handling two high-profile cases against Trump University -- was believed to have had a hit placed on him by one of Mexico’s most dangerous cartels.

“This is typical Trump bullying tactics, but they’re not going to work on a man who survived a contract taken on his life by the Arellano Felix organization,” Jason Forge, a lawyer representing the challengers in a class-action lawsuit against Trump University, told TPM.

Read More →

With a beautiful border wall, a ban on Muslims and a declaration that former POW and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) wasn't a war hero, Donald Trump has been one heck of a phenomenon to behold. But, while he may be the most brazen Republican candidate in the spotlight today, he is just one of the many colorful Republicans seeking federal office in 2016.

Meet these five Republicans coming to a congressional race near you.

Read More →

The ongoing House Republican effort to impeach IRS Commissioner John Koskinen over his handling of the so-called “IRS targeting scandal” took a turn towards creative filmmaking last week during a House Judiciary Committee hearing.

The testimony of witness Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), the chair of the House Oversight committee, revolved around an extended video created by his office and played for the committee. The video was a ten-and-a-half-minute, slickly-produced recounting of GOP allegations of Koskinen's supposed misconduct. It bore a closer resemblance to a campaign attack ad than to the sort of the evidence typically provided in a congressional hearing.

Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), the ranking Democrat on the committee, called the move to play it during Chaffetz's testimony “a little bit unusual.”

Read More →

A former IRS official, under a congressional subpoena, said he had doubts about the administration’s rationale for funding Obamacare subsidies that are at the heart of a House Republican lawsuit challenging the Affordable Care Act, according to a New York Times report published Sunday. His deposition was part of a Republican-led House committee investigation and, in a moment of partisan jockeying, the deposition was made public by Democrats on the committee, who sought to get ahead of a potential Republican leak, according to the Times.

The official, David Fisher, who worked for the IRS as financial risk officer, recounted in a May 11 deposition for House Ways and Means Committee investigators a January 2014 meeting during which IRS officials were taken to an Old Executive Office Building conference room. There, they were shown a Office of Management and Budget memo justifying the administration’s funding of billions of dollars in health insurance subsidies. They were not allowed to take notes or copy the memo, according the Times, and the IRS officials were also told that then-Attorney General Eric Holder had approved of the rationale.

Read More →

When Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-TN) endorsed Donald Trump at the end of February, Trump was having a rough time. The billionaire businessman had been hit hard during the Republican debate in Houston and pressure was mounting (from Mitt Romney of all people) for Trump to release his tax returns. Most of the Republican establishment still believed Trump could be defeated. If not before the convention, on the floor in Cleveland.

Read More →

Some men just want to watch the world burn, so the famous line in The Dark Knight goes. And some Republicans just want to break Obamacare so they can call it broken.

Their more recent efforts to attack the law won’t so much destroy it, but rather seem to be part of a larger plan to cause enough chaos to give the perception that Obamacare is failing.

“They started out strong and they got progressively weaker and they’ve become progressively less important,” Nicholas Bagley, a professor of health law at the University of Michigan, told TPM about the long conservative legal effort to undermine Obama's signature legislative achievement.

Read More →

A handful of Republican Senate candidates are operating in an alternative universe, one where Donald Trump's promises of a big, beautiful border wall and mass deportation never caught fire and instead 2016 was finally the year the Republican Party was watching its tone and making strategic moves to court Latino voters.

In Nevada, Arizona and Florida, Trump might be on the top of the GOP ticket, but Republican Senate candidates are still attempting to put the Republican 2012 election autopsy lessons of Hispanic outreach into practice.

Read More →

Approving legislation that would essentially ban abortion would bring a governor said to be on Donald Trump's veep list a costly court battle for a cash-strapped state and a lot of negative attention.

Will Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (R) sign it anyway?

In some ways, the choice she faces has become somewhat commonplace in the governors' mansions of red states across the country: Greenlight an obviously unconstitutional anti-abortion bill passed by a Republican legislature and invite an expensive court legal battle, or save the state the trouble by vetoing it at the risk of ticking off the social conservative base.

Read More →

Shouts erupted in the House gallery Thursday morning after several Republican members switched their votes, defeating an amendment that would have preserved anti-discrimination protections for LGBT employees of federal contractors.

The procedural maneuvering is a little complicated but here's the gist: Late Wednesday, the House had passed defense legislation which included language that undermines an executive order from President Obama that prohibited federal contractors from discriminating against LGBT people. Rep. Sean Maloney (D-NY) then offered an amendment that would have reversed the anti-LGBT provision in the defense bill.

That's when things got interesting.

Read More →