Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

There is something I was thinking about yesterday that went beyond the specific confines and parameters of the Don Jr story and his meeting with that “Russian government lawyer.” It is a point illustrated quite nicely in today’s column by Ross Douthat. Don Jr’s actions, as significant as they are in themselves, have a significance far beyond them in perceptions and conclusions about the Russia probe.

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One issue I’ve touched on here and there in my posts on the Russia probe is my abiding sense that especially the younger generation of Trumpers: Kushner, Don Jr., et al. just don’t seem to grasp the magnitude of the trouble they’re in, or at least the magnitude of their legal exposure. I can’t point to any one piece of evidence. It’s more like every piece of evidence. The signs I’m going on are a mix of public evidence, things we see unfolding in the newspapers, and my own reporting.  They just don’t act like people who get what they’re dealing with and are acting accordingly.

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A favor. I’m neck deep in trying report on Trump Jr. If you’re considering joining Prime, please do so today so I don’t have to write posts about out membership drive and be distracted. Click here. Thank you.

There are two noteworthy articles out tonight, one from the Times and another from the Post. They are both of the ‘President is enraged about X and turning on Y’ genre which has become a staple of over the last six months. On that front, the kicker for me is a point noted in both articles but with more detail from the Post: with the White House figuratively burning to the ground around them, Ivanka, Jared and Melania Trump are pushing the President to solve the problem by firing Reince. Clearly, Reince Priebus is the problem. But the three specific, factual points I want to reference come from the article in the Times.

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We were all skeptical that Donald Trump Jr. would actually go on Sean Hannity’s show tonight. But he did. And I watched it. It’s sort of amazing to me that you can hold an interview like this and make no news. But they managed to do it. The questions were silly. Since Hannity didn’t really ask any questions, Trump really didn’t answer any. On the core issue of why he took the meeting after being told that he would be receiving information that was part of an effort by the Russian government to elect his father, Trump’s answer was something to the effect that it was the middle of a campaign, everything was ‘going a million miles an hour.’ And basically that’s just how it was. The whole thing was a bit jarring for me since I haven’t watched Hannity in some time. But you didn’t miss anything.

Nice understatement here from Gloria Borger just now on CNN …

And Don Jr. clearly has not been involved in politics. But he is an American citizen. And you get this kind of an e-mail from Russia – even though you know the people who are tangentially involved, because don’t forget you’re dealing with a family who the patriarch was involved in the Miss Universe pageant with Donald Trump. So there is a relationship there. But you get this kind of an e-mail and you should shake your head and say, “What are you talking about? And maybe we ought to get the FBI in on this.”

We will try to have something more detailed on this shortly. But CNN a short while reported that the blockbuster news of the last three days was news to the Special Counsel’s office. There was some ambiguity about whether they learned key new information from the last four days of reports or whether they knew this stuff but only recently from Jared Kushner’s and Paul Manafort’s disclosures. Regardless, the key thing seems to be this: if we’re thinking that the FBI/Mueller has known this stuff for months, that’s wrong. They didn’t.

Philip Bump at the Post just flagged this Trump speech from June 7th, four days after Rob Goldstone’s first contact with Don Jr and two days before the meeting at Trump Tower on June 9th.

Trump promises big news about Hillary Clinton’s crimes in a speech on “probably” June 13th.”

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Over the weekend, as the import of the Donald Trump Jr meeting became clear, but before this morning’s emails release, I started going back through my notes to piece together the timeline of events and whether they looked different in the light of the new revelations. And? Good guess! They look a lot different. For the moment, look at the timeline after the jump starting in April and running through August. That is the critical part. The critical addition of the Don Jr meeting fits right into a critical period when what we understand were Russian intelligence operatives were trying various vehicles to surface emails that were stolen during the spring. Look at the timeline after the jump – again, go ahead to April 2016. 

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