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Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

Judged by time, today's House Intelligence Committee hearing was mainly an exercise in hypotheticals and 'no comments'. For those who hadn't gotten the full treatment until now, it was also an exposure to what we might term James Comey's militant earnestness.

What did we learn?

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So a Republican member of Congress just suggested that articles in the Times and the Post reporting information about Russian ties to Trump associates may actually be using sources who pretend to be US intelligence or law enforcement officials but are in fact Russian agents. This kind of desperate nonsense makes it difficult to remain an entire skeptic about what may remain to be learned.

Quotes after the jump ...

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Republican congressmen profess to be very worried that meeting with a foreign ambassador might put them at the center of a counter-intelligence probe. They're also worried that making a paid speech in another country might do the same - if not for them than people who they know. There's a pretty extreme effort to ignore the conclusion that for Trump associates at the center of a counter-intelligence investigation there was probably lots of different clues and developments which got them there.

It is worth remembering that with any other President, making up out of whole cloth false allegations of serious crimes on the part of his predecessor, would trigger at least talk of resignation.

In this case, most seem willing to move on since it's now been shown that the President was clearly lying.

Comey: "I've been authorized by the Department of Justice to confirm that the FBI as part of our counterintelligence mission is investigating the Russian government's efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. That includes investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government, and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia's efforts."

The significance is all in the final clause. This is a continuing investigation - last issue is not resolved.

Watch the Comey hearing here live.

We've seen a few drop-offs in support for President Trump since he took office two months ago. But they've mainly rebounded to a relative stability with a high single digit deficit in public approval. This is his steepest dive to date.

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Two weeks ago today, President Trump went on Twitter and leveled a series of accusations against former President Obama, most notably that Obama had wiretapped his phones in Trump Tower. The claim has been roundly criticized ever since. Notably, it came on the heels of a new round of damaging revelations about ties between Trump's entourage and Russia. We've now had formal inquiries from the congressional intelligence committees, statements from the Department of Justice and the FBI, a follow on attempt by Trump and Spicer to redefine what the President actually said.

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This is a fascinating and significant development. John Podesta is supporting Tom Perriello over Lt Gov. Ralph Northam as Democratic candidate for Governor of Virginia.

As Allegra Kirkland notes here, the remaining defenders of President Trump's preposterous Obama wiretapping claim now find themselves out on a limb. But let's also note the media's responsibility for perpetuating this farce. Even today, I continue to hear that there is "as yet no evidence" for Trump's claims. This is not remotely the normal way anyone discusses things like this.

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