Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

I mentioned below that the report from The Wall Street Journal about the hush agreement negotiated by Michael Cohen for Elliott Broidy, a top Trump fundraiser, is a key, new connection between the hush money payoffs and the Russia probe proper. Broidy is tied to the murky shenanigans of George Nader, with money payoffs from the Gulf states and the Russia/Seychelles back channel. But there are some key details about this agreement itself.

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The Wall Street Journal just published a stunning scoop. In 2017 Michael Cohen negotiated a $1.6 million hush deal for a major GOP fundraiser named Elliott Broidy, deputy finance chairman of the RNC. If that name rings a bell, it should. Broidy is at the center of the part of the Russia probe involving the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and international fixer and convicted pedophile George Nader.

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TPM’s Allegra Kirkland was in the federal courthouse this morning when lawyers for Michael Cohen and (unexpectedly) President Trump argued to suppress or at least get a first look at material seized in the raids on Monday. Here’s Allegra’s report.

As we prepare for an avalanche of hagiography and character assassination about James Comey, I want to flag this piece I wrote last May about the ‘Comey Myth’, how it came to be and Comey’s central role in creating and cultivating it. As I argue it is in many, most ways accurate. But Comey himself is perhaps the greatest devotee and believer in the Comey myth and that’s one of the reasons why he made severally critical bad judgments in 2016.

News came out overnight that there’s a hearing this morning on the Michael Cohen searches/raids at 10:30 AM before Judge Kimba Wood at the federal courthouse in Lower Manhattan. TPM’s Allegra Kirkland is at the courthouse and will be in courtroom this morning. All that is known at this point is that the hearing relates to the Cohen raids. We don’t know more than that, though it seems logical to assume it’s an effort on the part of Cohen’s attorneys to throw out the fruits of those searches. We’ll bring you more when more details are available.

The excerpts from James Comey’s memoir are fascinating. But they are maybe the third or fourth biggest news item on the Trump-Russia front this afternoon. This isn’t to say they’re not significant. We understand the world around us, even the most serious matters, through characters and stories. His account provides color and compelling detail. But none of the details I’ve heard so far tell us things we didn’t already know or know as a general matter. There are several other highly significant developments which deserve your attention.

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We’ve now had numerous instances in which President Trump has taken some dramatically inappropriate or illegal steps but we only learn about it much, much later. Look what happened today. I strongly suspect we now have another example.

Earlier today, the White House press aide Lindsay Walters announced that today: “Rod Rosenstein met with the president at the White House regarding routine department business.”

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Note that there is an emerging attack from the White House that suggests that Rod Rosenstein must recuse himself because he has a conflict of interest in overseeing the Mueller probe. The conflict is this: Mueller is investigating the firing of James Comey as a central part of his investigation of potential obstruction of justice. But Rosenstein was a central player in that firing. He wrote the memo that Trump used to justify Comey’s ouster.

As you can see, the argument is not that crazy in itself. There are in fact many people who have suggested that Rosenstein should recuse himself. But note the position in which this puts the White House. The President is saying that Rosenstein can’t oversee the probe because he was a central actor in one of the President’s alleged bad acts that is under investigation.

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