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Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

Since the complexity is great I created this infographic to assist you in following the Stormy Daniels story. To see the full size version, either click the headline of this post or the image itself.

There’s been such an avalanche of developments on the Russia front in recent days that I wanted to make sure we didn’t miss this article in the Post about Michael Cohen and the Mueller probe. We’ve seen him this week in his not infrequent comic relief guise as the slapstick villain in the Stormy Daniels saga. But he’s been a focus of attention in the Russia probe from the beginning. Indeed, I’ve long thought he is a critical, perhaps central part of the story.

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We now know the fourth person who either knows details of Stormy Daniels’ sexual relationship with Donald Trump or has seen or is in possession of the text logs, “certain still images” and possible dick pics. The woman referred to in the agreement as “Angel Ryan” is Jessica Drake. Who is Jessica Drake? She is another porn actress. But that’s not at all. She was also one of Trump’s accusers back in October of 2016.

A TPM Reader flagged this to our attention. I was trying to get solid confirmation. (Drake’s birth name is listed in various places as Angela Patrice Heaslet.) But now CNN has apparently confirmed that “Angel Ryan” is in fact Drake. So that’s settled.

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News comes this morning that President Trump is angry with Sarah Sanders for how she handled the Stormy Daniels questions in yesterday’s White House press briefing. Much as I find Sanders a disreputable wretch, it is quite rich to hear he’s unhappy with how she handled the story of his seeking and receiving a restraining order against his porn star girlfriend. Some stories are easier to spin than others! Jay Carney and Josh Earnest had it easy.

Still, it was a fatal error to say repeatedly that President Trump had “won” the case in secret arbitration. Let’s look at specifically what she said.

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This was hinted at in last night’s reports. But the Post has a story this evening suggesting not only that Erik Prince acted as an intermediary in a back channel between the Trump Transition but lied about it to congressional investigators. This goes back to that meeting in the Seychelles where emissaries from President-Elect Trump, Vladimir Putin and the government of the United Arab Emirates met in January, 2017. As the Post story relates, Prince told congressional investigators that he was there to meet with representatives of the UAE. The meeting with Kirill Dmitriev, the head of a Russia state investment fund, was simply a chance encounter. George Nader, Bob Mueller’s newly-cooperating witness, who was there at the meeting and who we discussed earlier, says thats not true. The meeting was set up in advance so that a representative of President-Elect Trump could meet an emissary from Moscow.

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In case you missed it, Episode #3 of The Josh Marshall Podcast is out. David Taintor and I break down a slew of critical developments in the Trump/Russia story over the last week. Listen here or download from iTunes or Google Play. I hope you enjoy it. Please send us feedback and please subscribe.

Last night I wrote a quick summary of the news about George Nader and the Mueller probe in response to the first reports from CNN and The New York Times. I want to step back and try to sift together the critical elements of the story and suggest how they may fit into the larger picture of the Mueller probe and the Trump/Russia story.

Perhaps unusually, the most telling part of the story is the color about Nader’s first encounter with the FBI, the fullest account of which is in the Times version of the story. George Nader was returning to Dulles airport on January 17th, apparently from abroad, when he was met by FBI agents with search warrants and a subpoena. Nader was planning to travel on to Florida to Mar-a-Lago for a celebration of Trump’s first year in office. Presumably, he planned to meet Trump himself or other members of the Trump inner circle. The FBI swooped in, confiscated Nader’s electronics, began questioning him at length and appear to have presented him with evidence and knowledge that more or less immediately turned him into a cooperating witness. He’s been cooperating ever since and has recently made at least one appearance before Mueller’s grand jury.

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Earlier this evening I told you about startling new revelations appearing to tie together the Russia probe with various of Donald Trump’s and Jared Kushner’s shenanigans in the Persian Gulf region. It’s stunning stuff but it’s complicated stuff. So check out the earlier post and the underlying articles from the Times and CNN to get the details. But no sooner did that happen than an attorney for Stormy Daniels posted a legal filing in which she asks a court to declare the “hush agreement” between her and Donald Trump and his lawyer, Michael Cohen, to be null and void.

But this rather sterile description doesn’t do justice to what is contained in the filing – which includes the original “hush agreement” itself and another related document. Suffice it to say, it focuses not so much on Stormy Daniels staying mum about a sexual relationship with Donald Trump but on “certain still images and/or text messages which were authored by or relate to” Donald Trump. Let’s put this baldly: Stormy appears to be saying she’s got or had sexts and maybe even “dick pics” from President Trump.

So with that, let’s get to the horrid details.

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