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

Extremely Dangerous Ground

I want to take a moment to discuss two articles which have been published in recent days which focus on the idea that Michael Flynn was run out of office by a cabal of enemies in the intelligence and law enforcement establishment which actually has as its goal driving President Trump from office.

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"Bring Back the Crowds"

Sometimes a single tweet can tell you as much as a ten-thousand word article.


Russians Lament anti-Trump Purge

Quite an astounding article published this afternoon in The Financial Times.

Russian government officials say President Trump is the target of an information war and a purge of pro-Russian officials on a par with the Great Terror of the 1930s when Stalin purged vast numbers of party officials and military officers. No, I'm not kidding.

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This Isn't Going Away

From MarketWatch:

Under Armour Inc. was downgraded Wednesday to a rare bearish rating at Susquehanna Financial, which cited the “reputational risk” created by the chief executive’s praise of President Donald Trump.

Analyst Sam Poser cut his rating on the athletic apparel and accessories company UAA, +0.11% to negative, after being at neutral since Jan. 31, and at positive since Aug. 11. Only four of the 310, or 1.3%, of the companies covered by Susquehanna were rated negative through Tuesday.

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Very Dangerous

Yesterday The New York Times published an article about how Russia has now deployed a cruise missile which the Pentagon believes violates the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), a key agreement which was part of the winding down of the Cold War. After the article about the newly deployed missile there were further stories about a Russian spy vessel lurking off the East Coast in international waters. This is an example of the perilous position the country is now in, but not necessarily for the reasons you might think.

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Ask your Qs about education, Betsy Devos, etc. today at 1 p.m.!

Two editors from the national education news network Chalkbeat will join us in the Hive today for a live chat about education. Chalkbeat is a nonprofit news organization covering education in Colorado, Detroit, Indiana, New York, Tennessee, and across the country.

Feel free to submit your questions to Sarah Darville and Candace Carrington about anything from public schools, common core, education reform, charter schools and more. Drop your questions here -- if you'd like to participate but don't have a Prime membership, join here.

Flynn Doesn't Matter. This Is About Trump

For all we've learned over recent days about retired General Michael Flynn and his contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, it's overshadowed by much more that we do not know. Indeed, based on the current evidence we don't know whether Flynn's actions were just wildly inappropriate (undermining the current president's actions with a foreign adversary weeks before taking office) or part of a larger, darker design. Whether Flynn lied to the FBI (we don't know) or lied to his colleagues is an interesting legal and possibly political question. But again, they are relatively straightforward matters which only become truly significant in terms of the bigger picture, if there is one. The truth is Michael Flynn does not matter. We have before us a question that has stood before us, centerstage, for something like a year, brazen and shameless and yet too baffling and incredible to believe: Donald Trump's bizarre and unexplained relationship with Russia and its strongman Vladimir Putin.

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They Never Learn

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) on the Flynn affair: "I just don't think it's useful to be doing investigation after investigation, particularly of your own party. We'll never even get started with doing the things we need to do, like repealing Obamacare, if we're spending our whole time having Republicans investigate Republicans. I think it makes no sense."

That was the same mindset – an aversion to accountability in exchange for perceived short-term political gain – that produced an explosion of GOP corruption in the mid-aughts. There's little evidence the party learned from that sordid period, and Trump seems likely to reproduce it, except bigger, more garishly, and with more conspicuous gilding. And his congressional enablers seem ready to help out, if only by omission of real oversight.

Big Trouble

Another shoe seems to have dropped. The New York Times just reported that in the short window of time between President Trump's inauguration on January 20th and Acting Attorney General Sally Yates warning to the White House on January 26th, the FBI interviewed National Security Advisor Michael Flynn about his conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak on December 29th, 2016.

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Making Sense of the Spicer's Tale

Governments lie, about things big and small. We know this. They lie especially when they are in the midst of being engulfed in a major scandal. This is usually clear at the time. But it can also be very hard to prove. What was most conspicuous about Sean Spicer's afternoon press conference was not that so many of his claims were likely false but that the White House seemed like it hadn't even taken the time yet to get its story together.

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