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Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

One of the recurrent features of the Russia investigation drama has been the Trump inner circle’s hunt for a fall guy. It’s a very weird progression because not only has the designated fall guy changed but the people in the inner circle have changed. Indeed, at some points, it’s been a member of the putative inner who was the designated fall guy. It’s complicated.

Let’s go back to the Spring.

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The Washington Post reported yesterday that amongst the tens of thousands of documents Paul Manafort has turned over to congressional investigators and the Special Counsel’s offers were emails between Manafort and his Ukrainian deputy Konstantin Kilimnik. In one of those emails he tells Kilimnik to pass on word to a top Russian oligarch named Oleg Deripaska that he could provide briefings on the state of the presidential campaign.

“If he needs private briefings we can accommodate,” wrote Manafort.

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Earlier this week, we came up with an idea. Go back to the Steele Dossier and read it again fresh basically on all we’ve learned over the last 5 months. How does it read now? Here’s what we came up with. Give it a read.

I’ve long been intrigued by just how Paul Manafort managed to get involved in Donald Trump’s campaign. I’ve written about this before. One of the key facts of the relationship is that Manafort agreed to work for free – something that always struck me as quite out of character. The key public information comes from an April New York Times article by Glenn Thrush, which I’d like to return to now.

Thrush got access to a package of emails and documents that detailed how Manafort came into the Trump orbit through one of Trump’s most trusted outside advisors, Thomas Barrack, a real estate and private equity investor.

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One thing we’ve learned from the on-going Manafort investigation is that President Trump remained in at least semi-regular phone contact with Manafort for some time after he became President. There’s nothing necessarily wrong or illegal about that. But it’s certainly not politically wise. It’s also hard for me to believe any lawyer would have thought it was a good idea, given the scope of the various Russia investigations.

But here’s a point I wanted to return to.

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