Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

Early this week, Time Inc. laid off 300 employees across its properties. On Wednesday, Huffpost laid off 39 employees. Then later that day Vocativ, another digital media site, laid off its entire editorial staff. Huffpost’s layoffs were part of a much larger retrenchment (2,100 layoffs) at Oath, the new company which combines what used to be Yahoo and AOL. Both are now owned by Verizon. Yet, while this is happening, TPM is expanding.

I’ve been doing this for almost 17 years. In that time I’ve seen all the challenges of this very challenging business, digital news publishing. So I want to be crystal clear that this is anything but gloating or taking the remotest pleasure in the challenging transitions that others are having. I’ve been there. My point in raising this is that the difference – why we’re here and they’re there – is no coincidence. And the reason is you.

Allow me to explain.

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“God, this is going to make me sound pathetic, but it feels a little bit like getting dumped by your girlfriend. It feels a little like that.” That’s “alt-right” leader Richard Spencer describing the experience of getting jilted by Trump when he went all Goldman Sachs and went low energy on mass deportation. It’s our latest Prime longform. Definitely check it out. You’ll love it.

It is very difficult to get my head around the question of whether President Trump will fire Robert Mueller. Trump’s personal attack on Mueller yesterday followed by a personal attack on Rod Rosenstein this morning portends a trajectory that ends with the firing of both men. We don’t know that will happen. The consequences of it happening are so dire that it is hard to imagine it will happen. Yet that appears to be more or less precisely what happened with James Comey. Trump is a man of anger and predictable habits. It would be naive in the extreme to assume Trump won’t eventually fire both men.

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Below, I wrote about yesterday’s WaPo blockbuster which confirmed what seemed likely: that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating whether President Trump obstructed justice by firing James Comey and taking other actions with the aim of ending or diverting the Russia probe. Two other articles came out yesterday evening – one in the Times and another in the Journal – which added a few more details.

The pieces mainly follow and rehash the WaPo piece. But let me focus on a couple points.

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This seemed pretty clear based on circumstantial evidence and James Comey’s testimony last week. But The Washington Post is reporting that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is now investigating President Trump for possible obstruction of justice. That’s zero to obstruction in under 5 months, amazing and genuinely impressive in the sense of achievement in corrupt behavior and malicious intent.

Donald Trump. He’s doing great work. And people are noticing.

Earlier I noted that events like this remind us that America is a uniquely violent society when judged against societies and states which have had relative political stability over the last two centuries. As I noted, four of 45 US Presidents have been murdered in office and more than that number again have survived serious assassination attempts. No other countries which have comparable histories over the same period come even close.

But I got an interesting email from TPM Reader VB in Germany.

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Authorities in DC and Virginia have yet to make a formal ID of the alleged shooter taken into custody in Alexandria this morning. But NBC, The Washington Post and other news outlets are identifying the alleged shooter as James T. Hodgkinson, 66 of Belleville, Illinois.

A Facebook page of a man with the same name, hometown and a college graduation which would make him approximately 66 years of age identifies the man as an ardent opponent of President Trump and supporter of Bernie Sanders. The Washington Post separately interviewed a St Louis restauranteur who says he became friends with Hodgkinson when they volunteered for the Sanders campaign in Iowa.

One of the many bad repercussions of this incident is that it will certainly intensify the already wildly high security around the Congress and basically all government buildings around Washington, DC. We talk a lot about excessive security, security theater and so forth. All of those things are true. It’s one of the most unfortunate things about American public life. And yet this incident is an example that America is a deeply violent country, not least of which a country in which political violence is a persistent theme of public life.

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Eyewitness accounts now identify the gunman as a heavy-set white male in his 40s or 50s. The Alexandria Police say the single suspect is in custody. He has not as yet been identified by name.

Earlier reports that the gunman asked the partisan identification of the people practicing before opening fire appears to have been in error, a good faith confusion of another person with the shooter. I’m not sure we can definitively rule that report out. But it now appears that report is at best unconfirmed and likely erroneous.