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Watching

One of the many troubling things about this campaign is that Trump would seem to be getting crazier, more reckless and more unhinged faster than the DNC speechwriters can keep up with. Sad?

8:49 PM One thing I'm curious about is whether, as Trump becomes more reckless, more out of control, whether any high profile Republican will take the leap and endorse Hillary Clinton. I do not underestimate how difficult a step that is. We really shouldn't. And I give credit to folks like Mitt Romney who have publicly made the case against Trump. Same with both Presidents Bush who've refused to endorse him. It's not nothing. I mean that. But at the end of the day, as we come down to the wire, only two people can be president next January. At the end of the day it's a binary choice. Who will step up?

Read This

A good run-down of how Trump repeatedly dodged all the substantive questions about his business ties with Russia, use of Russian capital for various projects, etc.

Norah had no luck getting any information this morning out of Trump (de facto) Campaign Manager Paul Manafort. But Norah knew what the score was. After hearing again that Trump has no business in Russia she replied with the real question. "But does Russia have investments in Trump?"

He Answered None of the Questions

Okay we just finished listening to the Trump press conference. From our feed it was difficult, almost impossible to hear the questions. But from the answers, Trump did not address any of the substantive questions about his financial and/or policy ties to Russia. Not one.

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Oh Right, Did I Mention This?

I'm trying to figure out what business deals Donald Trump is doing with Vladimir Putin. But I need to be able to multitask. So did I mention we're doing a really important membership sign up drive to make TPM awesomeness now and in the future? If I didn't, we are. And it's important. If you feel like you need us, then we definitely need you. Take a moment, click here and become part of what we do. Thank you.

In a Bit of a Box

It's difficult to know what Trump could credibly say at this point to calm the waters over financial and policy ties to Russia. He does get a lot of investment from Russia. This is a fact. It's also not at all problematic in itself. Denying this is a demonstrable falsehood. So he's basically reduced to saying 'Sure, I have a lot of investment from Russia. But it's all completely legit, I assure you.'

Also I'm never going to release my tax returns.

Bill

Bill's old. He feels rickety and a little fragile, especially when he first walked out on the stage tonight. He looked to me like someone who might break if you pushed too hard. He seems to have a touch of a tremor in his hands.

I've lived almost my whole adult political life in a virtual relationship with Bill Clinton, with many ups and downs, in the second half of the relationship more downs than ups. In many ways this was a classic and an entirely familiar Clinton speech - especially post-presidential Bill Clinton, more storyteller than advocate or campaigner. And yet it's subtly altogether different because it's intimate and personal, barely at all tied to policy, and rippling underneath the surface with devotion and guilt and restoration and ambition and a whole fabric of different things probably a lot of us who've been watching this story for a quarter century sense intuitively.

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That. Ain't. The. Question.

As I wrote in this piece from earlier today: The question isn't whether Trump has business in Russia but whether Russia has business in Trump.

Please answer the question.

What's Going on With Putin and Trump and Why It's a Big, Big Deal

I was just talking to David Kurtz about this and he noted that coverage of the Russia/Trump story has been simultaneously so cursory and outlandish that anything short of ironclad confirmation of Trump's being a Russian spy will seem like a big come-down and hardly worth noting. I have been talking to various cybersecurity experts today to try to get a handle on just what level of confidence we should have in the claims that Russia hacked the DNC servers and then leaked the email cache to Wikileaks to upend the Democratic convention. As David notes, the Russian hacking part of this is so cartoonish and out there that it's simply hard to know what to make of it, other than the fact that Trump is himself such a cartoonish figure that perhaps it all matches up.

So I thought I'd take a moment to explain what I see as a sober, one-step-at-a-time explanation of what questions need to be answered and explored.

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Why Did Trump Dodge the Russia Question?

Yesterday, Rick Wilson, a Republican operative who has now moved into dissident status as a vociferous Trump critic, suggested that journalists ask Trump the following question: "Do you, or any of your business units have outstanding loans with Russian banks or individuals? If so, how much?”

Newsweek asked and got this answer from Trump spokesperson Hope Hicks: "Mr. Trump does not have any business dealings in/with Russia."

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