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Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

We have an unfolding dispute over just how Rex Tillerson was fired and what warning or explanation he was given. The AP reports that John Kelly told Tillerson over the weekend to expect a Trump tweet about him but not that it would be the announcement that he’d been fired. Other reports say Kelly told Tillerson over the weekend that he needed to resign of be fired. Meanwhile, Steven Goldstein, Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs put out word that Tillerson had received no explanation or notification about his termination. Goldstein himself was promptly fired by the White House after that statement.

One thing that has jumped out to me about the Daniels story is that she seems to have much better representation now than she did in October 2016. Back then her lawyer was Keith M. Davidson, a lawyer who apparently came her way through her then-manager, Gina Rodriguez. I had read earlier that he was a go-to lawyer for Rodriguez who is known for repping people who come to fame through scandals of various sorts. When I read the agreement, I couldn’t help but note that it reads as almost comically adverse to Daniels and for what in the context seemed like a relatively small sum of money.

My assumption was she had a low rent lawyer who either wasn’t that good or didn’t care. But then I noticed something this evening. In the final days of the 2016 campaign, The Wall Street Journal published a story about Karen McDougal, a former Playboy Playmate who claimed she had an affair with Trump and sold her story to The National Enquirer for $150,000. But the story never ran. They treated it as a ‘catch and kill’ story, buying it up to cover it up. So who represented McDougal? Keith M. Davidson.

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We just finished recording this week’s episode of The Josh Marshall Podcast. We had a special guest, Joan Walsh. We talked about the Stormy Daniels’ story among other topics, including the 2016 election. But I wanted to flag one point we discussed in this episode that I’ve learned over recent days. What Daniels told 60 Minutes is more damaging than people may realize.

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We now know that Stormy Daniels has taped an interview with Anderson Cooper for 60 Minutes. Here’s an informed hypothetical we should be considering closely. 

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We have another nugget of news on the Michael Cohen and Stormy Daniels front. Cohen says he got the money to pay Daniels from a home equity line of credit. “The funds were taken from my home equity line and transferred internally to my LLC account in the same bank,” he told ABC News. Fair enough. I have no reason to reject that claim. But this raises a key point about Michael Cohen. He’s just Trump’s lawyer. He may make a good salary. But he’s not a plutocrat himself who has six figure sums he can toss out like you or I might spend a hundred bucks. But as we’ve discussed before with Michael Cohen, that’s not really true. He appears to be a very, very wealthy man.

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I don’t think we know that Sarah Sanders either knew what she was talking about in the just concluded press briefing or whether, if she did, what she said will remain operative through the day or the week. But the upshot of Sanders briefing this afternoon was to walk back dramatically the announcement last night that President Trump would meet with Kim Jong Un.

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I wanted to briefly comment and share some perspective on yesterday’s announcement of a Kim-Trump summit this spring. I’m going to format them as a series of propositions or individual items rather than a structured argument.

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Since the complexity is great I created this infographic to assist you in following the Stormy Daniels story. To see the full size version, either click the headline of this post or the image itself.

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