Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

It is very difficult to get my head around the question of whether President Trump will fire Robert Mueller. Trump’s personal attack on Mueller yesterday followed by a personal attack on Rod Rosenstein this morning portends a trajectory that ends with the firing of both men. We don’t know that will happen. The consequences of it happening are so dire that it is hard to imagine it will happen. Yet that appears to be more or less precisely what happened with James Comey. Trump is a man of anger and predictable habits. It would be naive in the extreme to assume Trump won’t eventually fire both men.

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Below, I wrote about yesterday’s WaPo blockbuster which confirmed what seemed likely: that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating whether President Trump obstructed justice by firing James Comey and taking other actions with the aim of ending or diverting the Russia probe. Two other articles came out yesterday evening – one in the Times and another in the Journal – which added a few more details.

The pieces mainly follow and rehash the WaPo piece. But let me focus on a couple points.

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This seemed pretty clear based on circumstantial evidence and James Comey’s testimony last week. But The Washington Post is reporting that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is now investigating President Trump for possible obstruction of justice. That’s zero to obstruction in under 5 months, amazing and genuinely impressive in the sense of achievement in corrupt behavior and malicious intent.

Donald Trump. He’s doing great work. And people are noticing.

Earlier I noted that events like this remind us that America is a uniquely violent society when judged against societies and states which have had relative political stability over the last two centuries. As I noted, four of 45 US Presidents have been murdered in office and more than that number again have survived serious assassination attempts. No other countries which have comparable histories over the same period come even close.

But I got an interesting email from TPM Reader VB in Germany.

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Authorities in DC and Virginia have yet to make a formal ID of the alleged shooter taken into custody in Alexandria this morning. But NBC, The Washington Post and other news outlets are identifying the alleged shooter as James T. Hodgkinson, 66 of Belleville, Illinois.

A Facebook page of a man with the same name, hometown and a college graduation which would make him approximately 66 years of age identifies the man as an ardent opponent of President Trump and supporter of Bernie Sanders. The Washington Post separately interviewed a St Louis restauranteur who says he became friends with Hodgkinson when they volunteered for the Sanders campaign in Iowa.

One of the many bad repercussions of this incident is that it will certainly intensify the already wildly high security around the Congress and basically all government buildings around Washington, DC. We talk a lot about excessive security, security theater and so forth. All of those things are true. It’s one of the most unfortunate things about American public life. And yet this incident is an example that America is a deeply violent country, not least of which a country in which political violence is a persistent theme of public life.

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Eyewitness accounts now identify the gunman as a heavy-set white male in his 40s or 50s. The Alexandria Police say the single suspect is in custody. He has not as yet been identified by name.

Earlier reports that the gunman asked the partisan identification of the people practicing before opening fire appears to have been in error, a good faith confusion of another person with the shooter. I’m not sure we can definitively rule that report out. But it now appears that report is at best unconfirmed and likely erroneous.

As you can see, we have a very serious breaking news story out of Washington, DC.

In Alexandria, Virginia, immediately across the Potomac River from DC, a gunman (so far unidentified) opened fire on a GOP baseball practice. (This is prep for an annual congressional baseball game that goes back more than a century.) There were apparently a large number of shots. Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the House Majority Whip, was shot in the hip and others were apparently injured. The Alexandria Police Department tweeted that the suspect is in custody.

We will be bringing you information as it becomes available.