Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

The outlook for the GOP leaderships' 'repeal and replace' bill looks bleak. That said, I would not underestimate the ability of GOP leaders to get their members to vote for basically anything in the crunch. Also remember that House Republicans have a 20+ vote cushion. But it's worth reviewing what I believe are three key reasons why the current legislation looks to be on life support just a day after it was released.

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According to Wikileaks, the new tranche of CIA documents was provided by a government contractor or ex-government operative concerned at the overreach of various CIA hacking capabilities. But Wikileaks role as a de facto arm of Russian cyber-warfare and disruption operations against the United States certainly complicates its role as a purported or former whistleblower organization.

Here is the simple secret of health insurance and health care provision policy: You can create efficiencies and savings by constructing functioning markets. But at the end of the day, more money equals more care. Or in the proxy we judge these things by, more money means more people are insured. If you see a plan that costs a lot less money than Obamacare, it means many fewer people will be covered. It's as simple as that. You may have to look closely at the details to see just where the care reductions are made. But it's there, just as certain as night follows day.

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I've mentioned a few times that a big source on Felix Sater, his criminal background and his cooperation with the federal government is the memoir written by his longtime accomplice and coworker Salvatore Lauria. This is a book called The Scorpion and the Frog: High Times and High Crimes which was written by Lauria and a journalist named David S. Barry. I just talked to Barry about the book and Lauria and Sater. It was pretty fascinating.

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There are a few points worth making on the President's claim about former President Obama wiretapping him.

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I've written a number of pieces over the last five days about elements of the Trump/Russia story - specifically, looking into the backgrounds of people who've been close to Trump over the last ten to fifteen years and just how they may fit into the picture. I want to pull them together in one place here. Because they fit together into a whole.

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According to The New York Times, FBI Director James Comey is pressing the Department of Justice to explicitly reject President Trump's claims that former President Obama ordered his phones tapped. Comey reportedly made the request on Saturday but the DOJ has so far not released any such statement.

The claims appear rooted in reports on 'Breitbart News' and rightwing talk radio. Comey has a number of possible motives for pressing for such a public rejection, among which is setting the factual record straight.

Friday afternoon, TPM Senior Editor Catherine Thompson keyed in on this statement from White House spokesperson Sarah Sanders: “The big point here is the president himself knows what his involvement was and that’s zero. And I think that he’s the primary person that should be held responsibility and he had no interaction and I think that’s what the story should be focused on.”

This does seem like a significantly new position and one to take note of.

There's a lot going on in these two brief sentences. They can be summarized as follows: 1) The President is clean. 2) If others are dirty, that's not the President's problem. 3) If others are dirty, it doesn't matter because the President is clean.

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There is a startling new development in the ongoing Trump/Russia story.

Last week I wrote about Michael Cohen and his extensive network of personal and business relationships in the Ukrainian-American emigre community. One of those was a man named Alex Oronov, who runs a major agribusiness concern in Ukraine. Oronov was a partner in the ethanol business Cohen and Cohen's brother Bryan set up in Ukraine about a decade ago. Oronov is Bryan Cohen's father-in-law. Today we learned that Oronov apparently organized that 'peace plan' meeting that brought together Ukrainian MP Artemenko, Cohen and Felix Sater. About four hours ago Andrii Artemenko, the Ukrainian parliamentarian who came to New York with that 'peace plan', went on Facebook to announce that Alex Oronov has died.

(I was first alerted to Artemenko's post by Natasha Betrand of Business Insider who has been all over this story.)

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