When I first saw this, I was stunned. A big piece of the Russia puzzle. In a little watched campaign video from Sam Clovis’s failed 2014 Senate run, Clovis stated staunchly pro-Russian views about the Ukraine crisis. This was on March 17th, 2014, a day before the annexation of the Crimean Peninsula and more than a year before Donald Trump even announced his candidacy. At one point in the video Clovis says that “Russia, [by] placing forces on the ground in Ukraine, will help assist them in moving back into the Russian empire.” Read our report here.

Yesterday I appeared on a panel about digital publishers who are ‘pivoting to video’. I’ve written about this before. But in case you’re new to it, there have been numerous cases over the last six months to a year in which digital publishers have announced either major job cuts or in some cases literally fired their entire editorial teams in order to ‘pivot to video.’ The phrase has almost become a punchline since, as I’ve argued, there is basically no publisher in existence involved in any sort of news or political news coverage who says to themselves, my readers are demanding more of their news on video as opposed to text. Not a single one. The move to video is driven entirely by advertiser demand.
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You’ve probably seen the new Fox poll which has Doug Jones with an eight point lead over Roy Moore in Alabama. I’m skeptical. This isn’t a criticism of the particular poll. I’m just skeptical whether Roy Moore has suffered that much of a decline. This doesn’t mean Democrats shouldn’t put everything they have into winning this race. They should. They should be all in. But I think we are fooling ourselves if we think that Jones has now opened up a substantial lead over Moore. Winnable? Yes. But I don’t think Jones has anything like an eight point lead.

Keep an eye on this …

A gold trader who is close to Turkish President Recep Erdogan is now cooperating with federal prosecutors in a money-laundering case, according to two sources with knowledge of the matter, and legal experts say prosecutors may be seeking information about any ties between the Turkish government and former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn.

More here.

President Trump’s Obamacare sabotage campaign triggers even more renewal/enrollment confusion. Here’s the story.

Over the last 48 hours, Republicans have been abandoning Roy Moore in droves. Last night on his Fox News show, Moore dead-ender Sean Hannity put Moore under a 24-hour deadline to prove his innocence or drop out of the race. In this climate it’s now widely assumed that should he be elected Moore either will be or should be expelled from the Senate over the multiple accusations of pursuing and in some cases assaulting teenage girls in the 1980s.

This is a very questionable idea.
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A few moments ago on MSNBC, Roy Moore’s lawyer Trenton Garmon brought in host Ali Velshi’s “diverse” background as a partial explanation of why Moore dated underaged girls. The clear gist seemed to be ‘who are you to judge since they do this in your country too.’ For the record, Velshi is from Canada.

TPM Reader MM asks a pretty good question …

Everyone seems to think it’s most likely Don Jr. passed on the link that his dad tweeted.

Lord knows his dad is on the twitters a lot.

Why the automatic presumption that Assange hadn’t been in contact with Sr.?


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Last night on CNN, Hill reporter Phil Mattingly explained how and why Republicans have decided to raid Obamacare to help make the numbers work for their tax cut. 13 million are estimated to lose coverage.

Here’s our report on why the Senate is going back to partial Obamacare repeal to get its big upper income tax cut over the finish line.

I can tell by how many of you are NOT clicking on the feature that you are skeptical any form of Obamacare repeal is really happening AGAIN. Some skepticism is understandable given the GOP’s track record this year, but this is very much for real.

FILE - In this Feb. 18, 2016 file photo, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump listens to his mobile phone during a lunch stop in North Charleston, S.C. Trump’s approach to Twitter has been as unorthodox as his presidential campaign.The billionaire’s use of the social media service has been unpredictable and unfiltered, sometimes brilliant and occasionally typographically challenged. He has celebrated the support of scores of accounts that appear almost solely dedicated to him. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

Many Americans have feelings of shock, embarrassment or just serial cringing watching Donald Trump’s presidential tweets. But intelligence professionals have noted for months that it also provides a priceless channel of information for foreign intelligence services trying to understand the President’s state of mind. All countries diplomatic personnel and intelligence analysts devote immense time and resources to understanding the views, motivations, weaknesses and agendas of key foreign leaders. Trump’s often erratic and impulsive tweeting patterns reveals sleeping patterns, moods, what makes Trump angry, what he’s focused on, who he’s hating or cuddling up to at a given moment. In some cases, his tweets actually having geolocations turned on. So they know precisely where he was. But there’s yet another dimension to Trump’s tweeting and generally impulsive nature and it bears on the Russia investigation.
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It now seems increasingly clear – because of the lack of any credible alternative explanation – that the White House is trying to squeeze AT&T because of the President’s vendetta against CNN. Rupert Murdoch’s role in the story is just the latest new development. But there’s something else I wanted to share, courtesy of a lawyer friend.
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Dr. Bandy Lee is a violence studies specialist. Trained as a psychiatrist at Yale and Harvard Universities, she focused on public-sector work as chief resident and on anthropological research in East Africa as a fellow of the National Institute of Mental Health. Bandy recently published “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump,” a book that offers insight into President Donald Trump’s mental state from herself and over two dozen other mental health experts. Based on their evaluations, their consensus is that Trump presents a clear and present danger to the country. You can read a Mother Jones interview with one of the book’s co-authors here.

Bandy will be in the Hive to discuss her book and diagnosing Trump. Post your questions and join us on Thursday! If you’d like to participate but don’t have TPM Prime, sign up here.

Just to state it explicitly, there is absolutely no way Roy Moore is going to sue the Washington Post over their reporting on his dating teenagers when he was in his early thirties. This is likely obvious to most. But I wanted to make it clear in case there’s any question. As a public figure, the standard Moore would have to meet to sustain a suit is all be impossible. Particularly, as a candidate in a major election, his behavior is inherently newsworthy and closest to the more civically important forms of speech. Even if you assume for the sake of conversation that all the accusers are lying, that wouldn’t be enough for Moore to win a suit. Since he is a public figure he would have to show actual malice in the Post’s reporting. That essentially means that the Post knew the allegations were false or had a reckless disregard for the truth, simply didn’t care. The depth of the sourcing which is visible in the story makes that all but impossible. Moore knows all this. This is just a way to signal to low information voters or ones desperate to believe him that he’s fighting the charges rather than admitting their truth. He’s not suing anyone.

I spent a bit of Friday afternoon watching an interview the Times’ Andrew Ross Sorkin did with Randall Stephenson, the CEO of AT&T. I was watching because of my deep interest in what is happening with the Trump Justice Department and AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner. Stephenson was very careful not to touch Trump’s potential role in this – unsurprisingly. Ross Sorkin wasn’t that aggressive in pressing. The weirdness confirms me in what I wrote here (sub req).

But there’s something else that came up that I wanted to flag.
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Fascinating piece here in the Times applying some Times level sleuthing to shed more light on those Papadopoulos court documents from last week. We get some idea of the backstory of Joseph Mifsud, apparently a failing and shambling academic career that was on its final skid when Russians showed up in 2014 with money and newfound respectability, an old story. Other gaps of the story are filled in. But the big one is Stephen Miller.
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I’m getting a lot of new information about the AT&T/Time Warner acquisition and what the Trump White House is up to. If you know things, please contact me at our comment email address under our logo. I can also provide secure means of communication.

A lot of Flynn threads are emerging in rapid succession that suggests a much broader and wilder universe of criminal wrongdoing. Here’s my backgrounder (sub req) on what might be coming.

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