Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

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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There are countless things to write about this morning’s revelation. I was already at work on that revised timeline I mentioned earlier when this was flagged for me while I was in a cab coming back from a meeting. For now I will just make a single observation. Donald Trump Jr. began this engagement with Rob Goldstone on the basis of this message. “This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.

At a minimum Don Jr. and likely (though this is as yet unproven) all high level members of the Trump team knew about this more than a year ago. Ergo, all the total and aggressive denials about Russia’s role supporting Trump, law-breaking for Trump, etc. etc were all the most total and abject lies.

With last night’s report in the Times, I think we are officially past the point of the ‘was there collusion’ question. There was. The President’s son now has the barest argument that he tried to get damaging information about Hillary Clinton which he was told came from a Russian government campaign to help his father become president, only to find it was insufficient. 

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The New York Times has followed up with a third installment in its Don Jr series in as many days. I’m not sure there’s much to analyze. It’s pretty straightforward. When Don Jr was contacted about meeting with the Russian lawyer who had dirt on Hillary Clinton he was told that the dirt was part of a Russian government operation. He took the meeting on that basis.

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Yesterday I noted that the biggest thing in the Times‘ Don Jr article was the sourcing. The story came, apparently unprompted or voluntarily, from what the Times identified as 5 advisors to the White House. Top Trump advisors don’t casually drop incredibly damaging information about the President’s son for no reason. You do that to get ahead of something bigger.

But … remember, this is Trump World. And now I realize there’s a quite different potential explanation, but in the spirit of Trump’s Razor (perhaps Trump’s Razor by Proxy?) the stupidest one possible. 

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You’ve probably seen this story by John Solomon in The Hill. It claims that the memos James Comey had leaked to The New York Times in fact contained classified information. Predictably the report ricocheted from Fox News to President Trump’s Twitter feed. But there’s some very important context you need to understand this story.

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