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Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

The President has made a few more comments today. They follow the standard pattern: Make the absolute minimum criticism of white supremacists, neo-nazis and right wing extremists. From a few moments ago: “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides. On many sides.” He explicitly equates the white supremacist/nazi marchers and the counter-protestors.

2:26 PM: This is from the AP wire at 2:00 PM, eyewitness reports from credentialed journalists on social media suggest substantially more people injured than in this copy …

Authorities are on the scene after a vehicle plowed into a group of people marching peacefully through downtown Charlottesville.

An Associated Press reporter saw at least one person on the ground receiving medical treatment immediately afterward the incident, which occurred approximately two hours after violent clashes between white nationalists and counter-protesters.

The nationalists were holding the rally to protest plans by the city of Charlottesville to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

There were several hundred protesters marching in a long line when the car drove into a group of them.

Here’s video of one angle of the incident …

Here is a ‘better’ view of the incident. As you can see, two cars are moving very slowly through a crowd of counter-demonstrators when another cars comes at high speed behind them, hitting demonstrators and then plowing into the back of one of those two cars. That appears to have caused a chain reaction throwing the other two cars into other people on foot.

White supremacists and Neo-Nazis are the President’s domestic Putins. We’re not supposed to say in polite company that he’s on their side. But he has to be dragged kicking and screaming to criticize them. And he usually refuses to do so altogether. Today’s tweet in response to the incidents in Charlottesville is just the latest example.

Earlier this month, The Atlantic reported on a memo written by a since-fired NSC staffer named Rich Higgins. National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster fired Higgins in July over the memo. But Higgins’ dismissal was part of McMaster’s broader effort to assert control over an NSC which still has or had numerous staffers brought in by Mike Flynn. Yesterday Foreign Policy published the memo in its entirety along with new reporting about the context of the memo, its discovery and Higgins’ dismissal.

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Let me note something about this afternoon’s news that Paul Manafort is switching out his legal team. Pay attention to some key parts of the rather brief announcement. The statement by spokesman Paul Maloni says that Manafort is “in the process of retaining his former counsel, Miller & Chevalier, to represent him in the office of special counsel investigation” and that “as of today, WilmerHale no longer represents Mr. Manafort.”

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Picking up on my earlier post about why Trump’s lawyer appears to be signaling that he fears materials seized from Paul Manafort’s home may incriminate the President, let me say this. It’s quite possible that John Dowd is just being stupid. Or, more specifically, it’s possible Dowd is just sounding up for the benefit of Trump’s political supporters and doesn’t care if his comments make sense in other contexts or might even appear incriminating. Unlike the now semi-canned Marc Kasowitz, he’s a real DC lawyer. He’s also got a reputation as a hothead.  But I want to zoom in on the issue of Paul Manafort.

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President Trump’s lawyer John Dowd allegedly sent an email to The Wall Street Journal in which he said, among other things, that the raid on Paul Manafort’s home was a gross abuse of power. The FBI definitely used aggressive tactics. I said as much yesterday. But the part that jumps out to me is that Dowd is threatening to make a motion to have the fruits of the search suppressed.

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In almost every discussion of the North Korea situation, I try to remind everyone that North Korea made its nuclear break out under George W. Bush – not under Bill Clinton and not under Barack Obama. A key part of that backstory is that over the course of the late 90s the US negotiated a series of agreements called the Agreed Framework which shuttered the North Koreans nuclear weapons program in exchange for a combination of commitments and aid. The Bush team argued that the agreement was ‘appeasement’ and that the US had caught the North Koreans cheating on the agreement during Bush’s first term. The cheating argument has always struck me as questionable – quite possibly true but questionable. But the bigger issue is this: Does any of this really matter today as more than affixing blame for a situation we have to grapple with today whoever is at fault? I would argue that it very much does. Here’s why.

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TPM Reader ML thinks I’m mistaken to believe Trump’s bellicosity has played a role in the recent escalation between the US and North Korea …

I am a big fan of your work. TPM is absolute “must-read” for me every morning (right after the Red Sox box score). But, I have a bit of of a dissent to offer related to something you said in your Korea piece. It will seem like a minor point on the surface, but there is a larger issue at stake that troubles me.

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In response to a new round of threats from North Korea, themselves spurred by new US sanctions led by the US, President Trump has now, rather casually, threatened North Korea with a nuclear holocaust. At a meeting on the opioid crisis a short time ago Trump just said: “They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen,” Trump said. “He has been very threatening, beyond a normal state, and as I said they will be met with fire and fury and, frankly, power the likes of which this world has never seen before.”

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