Opinions, Context & Ideas from the TPM Editors TPM Editor's Blog

Extra! Tony Blair, Like Bush, Fooled His Citizenry Into Going to War With Iraq

At long last, civil servant Sir John Chilcot released his 12-volume study of Britain’s participation in the Iraq War. The report condemns Prime Minister Tony Blair’s government for misjudgments and miscalculations and for subservience to American foreign policy objectives, but it also blames Blair himself for misleading the British people and members of Parliament in making the case for war on September 24, 2002.

In that speech, and in the famous “dodgy dossier” that accompanied it, Blair declared that Saddam Hussein’s “WMD program is active, detailed and growing. The policy of containment is not working. The WMD program is not shut down. It is up and running” and that “he has existing and active military plans for the use of chemical and biological weapons, which could be activated within 45 minutes.. and that he is actively trying to acquire nuclear weapons capability.” In his preface to the dossier, Blair had asserted that British intelligence had “established beyond doubt” that Iraq was producing WMDs.

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Corker Out

According to the Washington Post's Robert Costa, Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) has taken his name out of consideration to serve as Trump's veep. He was what we would call in the technical lingo the only normal pol currently being considered. Last night he introduced Trump at a speech in North Carolina, said what an awesome guy he was and then proceeded to watch him toast Saddam Hussein and accuse the Attorney General of the United States of accepting a bribe.

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Pouring Gas on the Endless Fox News Culture War

As noted below, Fox News former anchor and host Gretchen Carlson, who departed the network just a few weeks ago, has filed a sex harassment lawsuit against Fox supremo Roger Ailes. For those who don't follow the intricacies of the Fox News world, Carlson wasn't just any talking head. She was a big star on the network. The facts alleged are about as direct and egregious as one can imagine. Carlson claims Ailes pushed her to start a sexual relationship with him; Carlson refused and, she claims, that led to the end of her career at Fox News.

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More on Online Polls, Brexit and Trump

TPM Reader RM chimes in on Brexit, online polls and how American pollsters are dealing with the Trump phenomenon ...

I think the flaw in the analysis is that the UK polls also missed the Conservative Party’s win in 2015. If you recall, Labour led coalitions led in virtually all polling up through election day in May 2015, but to those who followed the election, they saw the late movement to the Tories. The UK pollsters missed both times with the same voters: white English voters who live outside of England’s major cities. I do stress England, not Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. “Leave" won by over 1 million votes in England (close to the actual % margin of victory). That margin was built outside of England’s major cities. UK pollsters think that their voters are more progressive than they actually are. US pollsters tend to be more conservative leaning in that sense.

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BREAKING

Former Fox host Gretchen Carlson files sexual harassment lawsuit against Fox News supremo Roger Ailes.

Did the Polls Miss Brexit and Maybe Trump Too?

After the UK voted to leave the European Union a week ago, there was a lot of talk about how the polls blew the result, predicting a "Remain" win when in fact "Leave" managed a close but clear victory. The rejoinder to this criticism - I think a valid one - was that the balance of polls showed "Remain" in the lead but only barely. A better interpretation of the data was that the race was too close to call.

Beyond the statistical margin of error, there were aspects of the contest that made it difficult for pollsters to accurately model. If we combined statistical with what we might call methodological margin of error, the margin of the "Remain" lead was well within this combined margin of error.

But now TPM Reader DF sends me an email with a link to a study which puts the whole picture in a very different light - and even suggests, by implication, that Donald Trump might be doing better than we think.

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And There's More

Tonight Donald Trump accused Attorney General Loretta Lynch of accepting a "bribe" from Hillary Clinton to clear her in the email probe.

Meanwhile, right now I'm watching CNN and the anchor is asking Jeff Toobin if it's possible Trump is right and that Hillary Clinton did bribe Lynch and get Comey to recommend against prosecution.

Understanding the Trump/Star of David Blow Up

We now know that Donald Trump tweeted an anti-Semitic image which in fact came from a notorious white supremacist/anti-Semitic Twitter account. The most notable fact about this incident is that while it would likely destroy most presidential campaigns, in Trump’s case it will likely be no more than a two or three day story. This is in part because, at this point, it’s just not terribly surprising (dog bites man, as journos say) but also because Trump is sure to embrace or broadcast some other racist or anti-Semitic meme within a day or two. The next blow up will push this off the front pages. The second most notable thing is that the Trump campaign can’t seem to decide what its story is: unfortunate but inconsequential mistake the campaign quickly corrected? example of political correctness run amok? or it’s a Sheriff’s badge just like these nine other Trump supporter accounts are pointing out? Trump has thus far managed the genuine feat of simultaneously holding the support of a significant chunk of the right-wing Zionist community and virtually all online anti-Semites and neo-Nazis, an accomplishment we should not overlook.

It all raises the question: is Donald Trump really an anti-Semite?

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We Have the Final Word; And It Was Friggin' Obvious

So now we have our answer: There won't be any charges against Hillary Clinton or anyone else in the 'email server scandal' which has played such a huge role to date in the 2016 election. It is important to understand what James Comey said. The relevant statutes are broad enough that lots of people could conceivably be charged under them. And there are occasional cases where prosecutors do use that expansive nature to charge people they really have no business charging. But, as Comey said, "no reasonable prosecutor would bring" charges in this case.

What is most notable about this news from a political and news perspective is that this outcome was entirely predictable, indeed almost inevitable, based on the facts that were publicly known about the case.

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Welp, That's Weird. But of Course It Is

So Tim Watts is my new best friend in the Australian federal parliament. MP Tim Watts. Needless to say, we're pals now because he's getting bombarded by the Trump campaign asking for money to fight 'Crooked Hillary'. Among other things, Tim's a Labor party member. So even apart from it being illegal for Trump to solicit funds from Tim (remember, Tim's not an American citizen, being from Australia), their politics likely don't line up. So as we've been researching Trump's top foreign countries for fundraising, I've been curious whether the Trump campaign has now taken the actually quite simple steps required to purge its list of at least foreign government officials at their government email addresses.

The answer is: no. As recently as last night (US time) Tim was getting emails from Trump begging for more money ahead of the critical June FEC deadline - which we discussed yesterday.

But here's where things got significantly weirder.

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