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Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

Here’s one thing to consider as Steve Bannon leaves the White House. There’s hardly anyone in the close Trump orbit who hasn’t been tripped up in some way by the Russia investigation. There’s one big exception: Steve Bannon.

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If you don’t have the twitter or breaking news wires spiked directly into your veins, for the last 10 or 20 minutes there have been a series of reports that Steve Bannon is out at the White House. First the news came from Drudge (who, whatever you think about him, is well-sourced on this front). The Times has now confirmed the story – but with a major caveat.

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Every president has these industry councils like the ones we’ve been talking about in recent days. They range from meaningless to not terribly important. They’re mainly symbolic. With everything that’s happened in recent days, I don’t want to make it out like the decisions of a small number of CEOs is the biggest news. Still, we should recognize that it is entirely unprecedented to have a sitting president become so toxic that corporate America feels unable to publicly associate with him. That is totally, totally new territory.

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One of the many privileges I have as the proprietor of TPM is that can let my writing be driven, at least in part, by impulse. Sometimes it’s like a fever and I have to and do write constantly. Other times, I don’t feel I have anything particular to say. And while I feel some self-imposed pressure, I can, to a degree, wait. In the last six days, we’ve had the horrifying events in Charlottesville followed by a series of self-inflicted injuries by the President, driven by his own rages, damaged psyche, grievance and inner illness. In the last 36 hours, almost everything seems to be falling apart. And yet, despite the fact that these are all issues which have been central to my interests and concerns for years, I’ve found myself with little to say.

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For those who’ve recognized what should really be obvious, this is quite a paragraph in the Times’ account of today’s Trump press conference

No word in the Trump lexicon is as tread-worn as “unprecedented.” But members of the president’s staff, stunned and disheartened, said they never expected to hear such a voluble articulation of opinions that the president had long expressed in private. National Economic Council Chairman Gary Cohn and Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin, who are Jewish, stood by uncomfortably as the president exacerbated a controversy that has once again engulfed a White House in disarray.

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Bob Mueller is reportedly most interested in two Trump mega-developments: Trump Soho in New York City and Trump Tower Toronto. The first has already gotten a fair amount of attention, the latter much less. Here’s our look at Trump Tower Toronto and its links to state-owned Russian bank Vnesheconombank. If Mueller’s interested, shouldn’t you be too? Here’s our report.

I wanted to follow up on yesterday’s post about public memory, the Civil War and Robert E. Lee with some more discussion and documents from the year’s just after the Civil War.

One of the things that all historians do is look for the earliest sources and those closest to events and facts we are seeking to understand. In some ways, this core imperative is more clear in ancient history or any period more than a few hundred years ago because historians of the distant past must cope with what is often the extreme scarcity of sources whereas modern historians often have the opposite problem: the sheer volume of source material that is impossible ever to fully digest and process. But the fundamental task is the same: recapturing the past on its own terms before subsequent events, needs, agendas and memory packaged them for use or simply distorted them for subsequent ages. This isn’t a matter of uncovering lies in most cases. We are constantly in the process of reshaping our history to serve our present needs. Indeed, we are constantly in the process of doing this in our own lives, reshaping our own personal story into a coherent backdrop to the person we are in this moment. 

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Debates over public memory and the valorization of history are frequently complicated and politically vexed. But on the margins, in extreme cases, they are often pretty straightforward. For any subject of controversy, the first question we should ask is: What is the person known for? How did they earn a place in our collective public remembrance?

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