Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

Bill's old. He feels rickety and a little fragile, especially when he first walked out on the stage tonight. He looked to me like someone who might break if you pushed too hard. He seems to have a touch of a tremor in his hands.

I've lived almost my whole adult political life in a virtual relationship with Bill Clinton, with many ups and downs, in the second half of the relationship more downs than ups. In many ways this was a classic and an entirely familiar Clinton speech - especially post-presidential Bill Clinton, more storyteller than advocate or campaigner. And yet it's subtly altogether different because it's intimate and personal, barely at all tied to policy, and rippling underneath the surface with devotion and guilt and restoration and ambition and a whole fabric of different things probably a lot of us who've been watching this story for a quarter century sense intuitively.

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As I wrote in this piece from earlier today: The question isn't whether Trump has business in Russia but whether Russia has business in Trump.

Please answer the question.

I was just talking to David Kurtz about this and he noted that coverage of the Russia/Trump story has been simultaneously so cursory and outlandish that anything short of ironclad confirmation of Trump's being a Russian spy will seem like a big come-down and hardly worth noting. I have been talking to various cybersecurity experts today to try to get a handle on just what level of confidence we should have in the claims that Russia hacked the DNC servers and then leaked the email cache to Wikileaks to upend the Democratic convention. As David notes, the Russian hacking part of this is so cartoonish and out there that it's simply hard to know what to make of it, other than the fact that Trump is himself such a cartoonish figure that perhaps it all matches up.

So I thought I'd take a moment to explain what I see as a sober, one-step-at-a-time explanation of what questions need to be answered and explored.

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Yesterday, Rick Wilson, a Republican operative who has now moved into dissident status as a vociferous Trump critic, suggested that journalists ask Trump the following question: "Do you, or any of your business units have outstanding loans with Russian banks or individuals? If so, how much?”

Newsweek asked and got this answer from Trump spokesperson Hope Hicks: "Mr. Trump does not have any business dealings in/with Russia."

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This morning we're publishing the second edition of TPM's new virtual magazine, The Arch with an article (sub.req) on the life of Mary Church Terrell, a pivotal leader of the fight against Jim Crow who most of public memory and much of history has simply forgotten. The Arch is part of our TPM Prime membership program. We hope you love it and I look forward to you feedback and your comments in the comments section.

I'm curious how this speech was crafted, how much of a role Sanders himself had in writing it. (Presumably the same speechwriters from the campaign, with whatever level of rewrites he does, like every other politician.) It was particularly well put together in terms of giving voice to what animated his campaign while pivoting to supporting Hillary and not having either seem forced, contrived or false. That's not the easiest thing to do. That is an understatement. What really brought it together though was that Sanders heart and head seemed very much in it. He managed to bring all the furious intensity he is capable of to this speech. It was really quite something.

That was an extraordinary speech.

I would have to go back and watch the 2008 speeches in their entirety. Michelle Obama was certainly a very solid speaker for a non-politician eight years ago. But I do not remember that kind of command, confidence and grace. She seemed more like someone who did very well in a role she was not entirely comfortable with, one thrust upon her. It's bracing and enlivening to see how she has taken possession of her role as a towering public figure in American popular and political culture.

Tonight Donald Trump told a crowd in North Carolina that to show our NATO allies how it's going to be, we'll have to leave the alliance and force our allies to bring us back with offers of more money. "We have to walk," Trump said. "Within two days they're calling back! Get back over here, we’ll pay you whatever the hell you want."

Meanwhile, when asked about the Clinton campaign's claim about Russian complicity in the DNC email hack, a Kremlin spokesman replied: “Mr. Trump Jr. has already strongly responded."

As we watch the Democrats give their speeches this evening with various attacks on Trump's misogyny, nonsense and more, Trump himself is giving a speech in North Carolina which seems to be something like a self-parody. He's hitting all the same points.

A couple examples after the jump ...

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This is the transcript from an exchange scheduled to run later this evening on NBC News, Julian Assange insisting there's "no evidence" the emails Wikileaks released were from Russian intel ...

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