Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

I'd recommend everybody bear in mind the dynamic we've discussed several times recently, which is that the presidential race has with a fair consistency oscillated between a substantial Clinton lead and a minuscule Clinton lead (ref the 'Clinton Wall'). That said, we seem to be back in the Trump fall off part of the cycle. The TPM Electoral Scoreboard stands at Clinton 302, Trump 203, where it's been for the last couple days. But within those numbers, over the last 48 hours we've gotten a range of quality state polls taken after Monday night's debate. And they're uniformly bad for Trump.

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Despite claiming for days that every online poll of his supporters say he won Monday night's presidential debate, Trump now insists first debate was a "rigged deal."

"I had to put up with the anchor and fight the anchor all the time on everything I said."

Nobody could help noticing that Steve Bannon's takeover of the Trump campaign did impart a significant degree of discipline on the campaign and Trump himself. Zero to ten mph in 20 seconds, sure. But improvement is improvement. What we should note, however, is how little control the campaign has over Trump (let alone how little control Trump has over himself) when he is forced to operate without a teleprompter and when his ego is put under any form of assault or even pressure. As many have already noted, Clinton's mention of Alicia Machado's treatment at Trump's hands was no random, momentary decision. They'd seen Curiel; they'd seen Khan. She and her team know how Trump's lack of empathy, self-awareness and narcissism makes him ripe for these days' or weeks' long self-destructive tirades.

They laid the trap and he walked right into it.

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In the situation Donald Trump is in with former Miss Universe Alicia Machado, any media professional or really anyone with a conscience would say this: "We quarreled many years ago. It's in the past. I truly wish her the best." Done and done.

But just an hour ago Trump went on O'Reilly to again trash Machado, now saying that he saved her job, gave her a shot at not being fat and this is the thanks he gets. Yes, he really said that. "You know, they wanted to fire her. The company itself wanted to fire her. I saved her job ... I saved her job because I said that's going to -- I did that with a number of young ladies. The staff itself [wanted to fire her]. Look what happened. Look what I get out of it. I get nothing. A lot of things are coming out about her."

Full Transcript after the jump ...

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There isn't much of a debate over who won the first presidential debate, though the significance of 'winning' is a more complicated question. Trump has devoted most of his Twitter feed since Monday night to finding online polls of his supporters that 'prove' he won. The more interesting news is about what prep Trump had and what prep he can actually accomplish. There are numerous reports that Trump's team tried to get him to prepare for the debate but that he couldn't focus or couldn't muster the patience to do so.

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Our reporter Tierney Sneed spent the day reporting on the latest information on the Trump Foundation. We now have clear evidence of self-dealing in the payouts made by the Foundation and as of yesterday pretty clear evidence that Trump has used the Foundation to avoid paying taxes on income. The combination could spell real legal trouble for Trump, possible even criminal penalties. In short, you're not allowed to use a family foundation as a piggy bank or slush fund for tax avoidance and personal or business purposes. We've proceeded cautiously in what we know and what we don't. We've also tried to be cognizant of the fact that this is an area of criminal law where intent is critical - which is to say, ignorance of the law is a defense. That said, one top former IRS official involved in oversight of tax exempt organizations told TPM, "Once you see a pattern of that kind of egregious nature, you start to think if whether there’s an appropriate criminal referral there." Here's the story.

If you're a tax law expert, either a practitioner, a professor or involved in enforcement, we are continued to probe this story. So we would like to hear from you with your opinion, thoughts, advice on issues most in need of probing.

It's only barely getting national news attention because of the heat of the presidential battle. But the Bridgegate trial is going on. And it now seems very clear - what was probably obviously all along - that Christie knew all about the traffic james in Fort Lee were engineered as payback. He knew and he was in on it. All from testimony in federal court.

Remember, Christie was 'exonerated' of any involvement by a tax payer funded 'investigation' by Christie's own attorney in matter.

Trump didn't have a terrible night last night. For anyone who's watched him closely for a year and a half he was simply himself. Cocky, angry, lashing out as an opponent increasingly dominated and embarrassed him. This wasn't a bad showing. It was him. But it's a good moment for all of those who constantly complain about Hillary being a terrible candidate, making this or that mistake, screwing this or that up, her performance last night was pitch perfect.

Yes, he did badly. But she brought it at least as much as he blew it.

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