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Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

This is that rare time when I think the cliched phrase is appropriate: That press conference speaks for itself. There's very little I can think to add. It all amounts to a confirmation of what most of us already know. This man is not emotionally or characterologically equipped to serve as President. He lacks the focus, the ability to commit to even a passable amount of work without immediate emotional gratification. Thus his decision to hold a campaign rally in Florida on Saturday. (It's literally a campaign event, put on by his 2020 reelection campaign). Trump lacks the emotional resilience or toughness to deal with what is the inevitable criticism and difficulties of being President, which - lets be clear - are great.

These different deficits all feed upon each other. He lacks the steadiness for the job.

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I want to take a moment to discuss two articles which have been published in recent days which focus on the idea that Michael Flynn was run out of office by a cabal of enemies in the intelligence and law enforcement establishment which actually has as its goal driving President Trump from office.

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Sometimes a single tweet can tell you as much as a ten-thousand word article.


Quite an astounding article published this afternoon in The Financial Times.

Russian government officials say President Trump is the target of an information war and a purge of pro-Russian officials on a par with the Great Terror of the 1930s when Stalin purged vast numbers of party officials and military officers. No, I'm not kidding.

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From MarketWatch:

Under Armour Inc. was downgraded Wednesday to a rare bearish rating at Susquehanna Financial, which cited the “reputational risk” created by the chief executive’s praise of President Donald Trump.

Analyst Sam Poser cut his rating on the athletic apparel and accessories company UAA, +0.11% to negative, after being at neutral since Jan. 31, and at positive since Aug. 11. Only four of the 310, or 1.3%, of the companies covered by Susquehanna were rated negative through Tuesday.

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Yesterday The New York Times published an article about how Russia has now deployed a cruise missile which the Pentagon believes violates the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), a key agreement which was part of the winding down of the Cold War. After the article about the newly deployed missile there were further stories about a Russian spy vessel lurking off the East Coast in international waters. This is an example of the perilous position the country is now in, but not necessarily for the reasons you might think.

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For all we've learned over recent days about retired General Michael Flynn and his contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, it's overshadowed by much more that we do not know. Indeed, based on the current evidence we don't know whether Flynn's actions were just wildly inappropriate (undermining the current president's actions with a foreign adversary weeks before taking office) or part of a larger, darker design. Whether Flynn lied to the FBI (we don't know) or lied to his colleagues is an interesting legal and possibly political question. But again, they are relatively straightforward matters which only become truly significant in terms of the bigger picture, if there is one. The truth is Michael Flynn does not matter. We have before us a question that has stood before us, centerstage, for something like a year, brazen and shameless and yet too baffling and incredible to believe: Donald Trump's bizarre and unexplained relationship with Russia and its strongman Vladimir Putin.

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Another shoe seems to have dropped. The New York Times just reported that in the short window of time between President Trump's inauguration on January 20th and Acting Attorney General Sally Yates warning to the White House on January 26th, the FBI interviewed National Security Advisor Michael Flynn about his conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak on December 29th, 2016.

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Governments lie, about things big and small. We know this. They lie especially when they are in the midst of being engulfed in a major scandal. This is usually clear at the time. But it can also be very hard to prove. What was most conspicuous about Sean Spicer's afternoon press conference was not that so many of his claims were likely false but that the White House seemed like it hadn't even taken the time yet to get its story together.

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