Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

Huge breakthrough from President Trump. He’s finally hit 60% disapproval in the Gallup daily approval tracking poll. He almost got there in March, peaking at 59% disapproval on March 28th. But this is a new record and I guess a new decile?

Remember, in Trumpland, it’s corruption all the way down. It’s the default action. This morning Jesse Eisenger and TPM alum Jusin Elliot break the news that Trump’s personal lawyer Marc Kasowitz bragged to friends that he got New York US Attorney Preet Bharara fired. Kasowitz reportedly told Trump, “This guy is going to get you.”

For the purposes of today, whoever’s idea it was, whoever made it happen, the actual firing had to come down from Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

A short while ago on her new MSNBC show, Nicole Wallace was asking whether all of the focus on things that happened around the turnover of the administrations (say, December 2016 to February 2017) isn’t misplaced. What about the much more out in the open events that happened earlier in the year, like that never explained change to the GOP platform? This raised in my mind a slightly different point. 

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I know it is a bit annoying to hear from me again and again about this. But we are in the midst of our annual membership drive. And it is critical that we convert as many of our regular readers as possible to paying subscribers. If you’re a daily visitor, if you’ve thought about it but put it off, please make today the day. Click here to sign up. Doing it makes a big difference. Doing it today rather than next week or next month is a big deal because it allows us to meet our sign up targets quickly, make plans on that basis and go back to focusing on reporting the news. Click here.

There’s an article in the Times today about how US cyberwarfare, used to such great effect against Iran and North Korea, has been a relative disappointment against ISIS. Part of the issue seems to be that ISIS’s use of technology is more basic and mundane, though not necessarily less effective. They’re not running major industrial projects like massive installations of centrifuges or missile design programs. Much of the stuff isn’t that different from running a website. Break it down and it’s easy enough to build back up.  But down below the lede in the Times story is this fascinating detail.

One of the stand-out cyber-warfare or spying feats against ISIS was carried out by Israel. And it was that operation that President Trump blabbed to Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov and Ambassador Kislyak.

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I’m excited to announce three new members of the TPM team who will be joining us over the course of June. Two of these new hires fill existing positions left open by people who’ve either been promoted within TPM or left the organization for new opportunities. One is the first member of our new Investigations Desk, an important new TPM initiative that will grow over the coming weeks with new hires.

Let me introduce them to you after the jump.

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Back in early March, when Attorney General Jeff Sessions first recused himself from the Russia investigation, I noted that it was an example of something that is peculiar to big political scandals. Certainly at the start, it is all but impossible to judge their full scope and detail. We don’t know enough. But often we can infer the depth and scope of big scandals by the intensity of the gravitation that surrounds them.

That was my first thought when Sessions meetings and recusal hit the news in early March. I have a very low view of Jeff Sessions. But it never occurred to me he was tied up, even in the sense of possibly inconsequential meetings, with the Russia story.

Now we have more. Possibly a lot more. Let’s take a moment to go through it.

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In an otherwise off the wall press conference today with the President Iohannis of Romania, President Trump agreed, after more hemming and hawing, to pledge his support for Article #5 of the North Atlantic Treaty – the essential provision which commits each member of NATO to the common defense of all. But there was another part of Trump’s comments which I’ve seen less mention of. Trump said not only that NATO members must get to the 2 percent of GDP expenditure on defense goal, which itself was only recently agreed to. He suggested that countries not spending 2 percent of GDP might have to pay the US back for previous underpayment.

Here’s the key passage …

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