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Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

Some day soon Republicans will realize they face an election in two years as the standardbearers and enablers of extremely unpopular president. (I also hope Democrats will realize this. Jury is still out.) Recent polls show President Trump's approval rating in the mid- to high 30s. That's just the first week. He's barely started. But this is almost always the high point. And the President's party almost always faces losses in the first mid-term in any case.

We got tipped to this story. But we weren't able to confirm it. WaPo did. On the day after his inauguration, the President of the United States personally called the head of the National Park Service to berate him over unflattering tweets from various NPS social media accounts and the pictures that were being used to demonstrate that President Trump's inauguration crowded paled in comparison to President Obama's and later the women's march.

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When Steve Bannon says the press is "humiliated", "opposition party" and should "keep its mouth shut" I really hope people know the proper response is contempt and derision. Like his boss, Steve Bannon is a punk. This is no more than Trumpian dominance politics, drama and threats meant to cow and put people back on their heels. Mockery and derision. The country is against this administration. Just trash talk. Meet it with laughter. Please, people.

I've mentioned a few times in the last couple months the Bannon/Trump plan for the U.K. and the EU. It builds from Bannon's ("Trump's") hostility to the EU and multi-national alliances generally. Prepare a ready-to-go trade agreement with Britain which will be finalized as soon as the UK departs the EU. This will strengthen the hand of the U.K. in its break-up negotiations with the EU. Once the U.K. is out of the EU and into its trade agreement with the U.S., so Bannon and Trump believe, the countries of Europe will feel they are not able to be excluded from a U.S.-U.K. trading space. Then the U.S. will offer the U.K. deal, as a working model, to the big European states, thus effectively dissolving the European Union.

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Last night I noted that a top Russian spy who is the number two person in the FSB department which allegedly oversaw the US election hacking operation had been arrested and charged with treason. Was he a sacrificial lamb and olive branch to Trump? A way for Putin to claim that his spy services had perhaps gone rogue? Or was he suspected of being a source to US intelligence? People who fall from grace in Putin's Russia are often dealt with with trumped up criminal prosecutions. But treason is a special charge.

Well, now we have reports that Sergei Mikhailov is suspected of being a US asset at the heart of Russian intelligence.

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This is pretty stunning. Josh Rogin at the Post is reporting that unexpectedly yesterday, the top career leadership at the State Department all resigned. These are not Obama era appointees but career FSOs who've served under Presidents of both parties.

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Donald Trump has given Democrats an immense gift with his latest Wall cave. As I've noted, Mexico paying for the Trump Wall has never been mainly about budgets or money. It's about dominance and humiliation. Countries defeated in war pay war indemnities. They are forced to agree to unequal treaties. Trump is all about dominance politics and humiliation. Forcing a foreign country to pay for a wall to keep its own citizens out of another country is almost the definition of national humiliation, as the Mexicans have themselves made abundantly. Although less deadly, it's symbolically comparable to how China forces families to pay for the bullets used to execute their relatives.

And yet here we are, one week in and Trump has managed his colossal self-own. Who's paying for it? We're paying for it! Or, who's paying for it? Mexico! How? On layaway! Or with some kind of forced promissory note which they themselves reject and say they'll never pay. Trump has made all of America into the first stiffed Trump vendor of his administration.

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I had seen references to this over the last two days. But those references were in publications I was not familiar with or, so I was told, in Russian language publications which I couldn't read. But now The New York Times is reporting that the number two man in the department which purportedly oversaw the hacking campaign against the Democratic party in the United States, Sergei Mikhailov, has been arrested for treason.

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