Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

Here at TPM, we’ve been reporting aggressively on Michael Cohen for more than a year. I want to put that information together with news threads of information we’ve learned over the last 24 hours to make sense of what the raids on Cohen’s homes and office are about and how we should understand what is happening.

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We’ve been telling you for years that Michael Cohen’s business history couldn’t survive first contact with serious investigative scrutiny. He’s been tied his entire life to emigres from Russia and Ukraine; he’s been their business partners, and they’ve been the source of rivers of money from that part of the world which Cohen has used to make himself a very wealthy man. A number of them have reputed ties to organized crime. Taxis, real estate, casino cruise boats. These are all businesses that require large amounts of cash to operate. They’re all good ways to channel cash into the United States. With Cohen taxis have always been the biggest red flag in our reporting.

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It is normal that a new National Security Advisor would bring in his or her own team over time. But Tom Bossert, in the structure of the Trump White House, isn’t really even under Bolton’s purview. He plainly has no ‘team’ on hand to replace him with on day one. We have a new episode of the podcast that is coming up shortly where Steve Clemons and I discussed this and Bossert specifically over the weekend. This is what it looks like. Bolton will purge the people who may not be great in ideological terms but are still legitimate foreign policy hands. Bolton is a militaristic/nationalist. International agreements, diplomacy, alliances, let alone international institutions or international law are all so much drapery to him – frippery at best and tools to constrain U.S. power at worst. Relationships between nations are purely ones of force. He’ll act on that mindset. Expect many others to go.

Yesterday a reader asked me if we had a list of our key Michael Cohen articles and, if we didn’t, could I recommend a few key ones. First, I think this piece from 13 months ago remains the best look at Cohen’s backstory. To go deeper you can read this piece on Cohen, Sater and the Trump-Russia money channel, this piece on what the CIA and FBI knew about it before 2016, and the eye-popping details about Cohen’s childhood friend and later fellow Trump associate Felix Sater. If you missed it, I explained last night to subscribers why I don’t buy that yesterday’s events were about the Stormy Daniels case.

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This is simply a hunch. But I don’t buy the suggestion that these raids today are about the Stormy Daniels case – not mainly, certainly not solely. The purported crimes simply lack the magnitude to require such aggressive action or tangling with privileged lawyer-client communication. They also lack the urgency.

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First comments from President Trump on the Cohen raid (from the pool report) …

Quick comments: “it’s a disgraceful situation.”

“I have this witch hunt constantly going on.”

“It’s an attack on on our country…what we all stand for.”

Also called the special counsel “the most conflicted group of people I have ever seen.”

Trump went on to criticize AG Jeff Sessions for recusing himself and repeatedly said no one “is looking at the other side,” referring to Clinton’s 30k emails and “many many” other things.

Video after the jump …

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FBI raids offices of Michael Cohen. This seems not to be directly tied to the Mueller probe but things Mueller’s team unearthed during their investigation. More to come.