Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

Yesterday I let you know, flatly and deliberately, about the importance of our 2017 Prime sign up goal and how, candidly, it would be no end of help to me if people who are considering signing up could sign up now. Since this would help me focus on writing about the Comey firing and possible, subsequent, collapse of the American republic. You came through! 229 new subscribers signed up yesterday! Thank you. That is just a decent dent in the 10,000 new subscribers we need to sign up by the end of 2017. But it’s a great number for a single day. So thank you. Bigly. Want to sign up now? Click right here. Better reading experience, major karmic boost.

Last night I was reading through the TPM email box when I saw this note from TPM Reader JG. As has happened so many times over the years I thought it was a game try but it simply couldn’t be right. And yet …

Well, let’s look at the email.

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I mentioned earlier that we shouldn’t forget this simple point. Virtually everyone of note in the White House has already repeated and vouched for President Trump’s story of how and why he fired James Comey. Not only was this story a plain absurdity on day one; all the information which has emerged over the last two days has tended to confirm its falsity. Here’s the key point. Everyone who has repeated it knows it’s false. They have knowingly lied on the President’s behalf and about a matter of grave national importance. That includes the Vice President. So in the extreme scenario that the President leaves office and is succeeded by the Vice President, the sitting President will still be directly implicated in this lie and this cover-up.

But there’s an additional problem for everyone in the White House and all the President’s defenders in Congress. And it’s a big one. 

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Last night came word that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein reportedly threatened to resign Tuesday night when he realized that the White House was making him the key decision-maker in the firing of James Comey. This tells us a lot, but not necessarily what it might appear on first notice. The main significance is that no more than 30 hours in, the White House’s absurd cover story about firing Comey over his misdeeds toward Hillary Clinton – a lie that virtually everyone at the White House has now publicly repeated and vouched for – is coming apart at the seams. We can also see the staggering fact that after no more than two weeks on the job, Rosenstein’s public reputation, which was formidable, has been destroyed. He now joins a legion of Trump Dignity Wraiths, men and women (though mainly men) of once vaunted reputations or at least public prestige who have been reduced to mere husks of their former selves after crossing the Trump Dignity Loss Event Horizon.

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I wanted to add some context to one of the more surreal moments of this surreal day. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met first with Secretary of State Tillerson and then a short time later with President Trump in the Oval Office.

This is not standard procedure.

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I mentioned in the earlier post that it feels to me like the White House is losing control of this story. I want to follow up by looking at what White House Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in today’s presser. She said a lot that was all over the place. But I want to focus on her essentially giving three overlapping and at least partly contradictory explanations for why the President fired James Comey.

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[ed.note: this post originally ran at 7:44 am this morning …]

This may seem like an odd post. But I’ll keep it very real and specific. We have aggressive membership sign up goals for this month to stay on track for what we need to do by the end of the year. I spent a good bit of yesterday working with colleagues planning how we get there and more importantly the sign up goals we have to meet for the year. They’re a big deal for the reasons I’ve already discussed with you here. I wake up this morning with a pressing focus, an impulse to spend as little time as possible working on that and thinking about that in the coming days. I want to be as focused on writing, reporting and hiring as possible. If you’ve been considering signing up for Prime, if you think it might be worthwhile, anything like that, please take a moment and sign up this morning.

There’s only so much time in the day. I don’t want to be distracted. If you haven’t seen my initial take on last night’s events yet, it’s in the post immediately preceding this one.