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Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

Over the last few days I’ve noted that senior FBI officials said a key reason James Comey publicly criticized Hillary Clinton in harsh terms when he declined to recommend charges against her was to assuage the feelings of FBI agents who had expressed sentiments like “[Y]ou guys are finally going to get that bitch.” Top FBI executives held conference calls with retired agents who had complained about “why we let her off the hook, and why she should have been prosecuted.” They did so to reassure them and calm them down. All of Comey’s advisors agreed that fear of leaks about the laptop emails from the New York field office was a key driver of Comey’s decision to send his October 28th letter. And Comey himself told Loretta Lynch that “that there is a cadre of senior people in New York who have a deep and visceral hatred of Secretary Clinton.”

Over the last few days I’ve had a number of readers write in to say, “Okay, I get it: There were people in New York and elsewhere in the FBI who really had it in for Hillary. But why? Why were they so against her? What did she do?”

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Michael Cohen has hired a new criminal lawyer, a former high-ranking SDNY prosecutor named Guy Petrillo. Peter Strzok was reportedly escorted out of the FBI building Friday afternoon. For the moment, he appears still to be employed by the FBI. We now have James Comey fired. Andrew McCabe fired and apparently in line to be prosecuted. Peter Strzok appears to be on the cusp of being fired and the President’s lawyer has demanded that he be imprisoned. Big picture, folks, big picture.

Curious what on earth this means. From deep in a Politico article on family separation and Secretary Nielsen …

But Kelly’s status in the White House has changed in recent months, and he and the president are now seen as barely tolerating one another. According to four people close to Kelly, the former Marine general has largely yielded his role as the enforcer in the West Wing as his relationship with Trump has soured. While Kelly himself once believed he stood between Trump and chaos, he has told at least one person close to him that he may as well let the president do what he wants, even if it leads to impeachment — at least this chapter of American history would come to a close.

What on earth does that mean? My best guess is that standard pattern of continuing to enable Trump and prepackaging a later explanation for why you didn’t really support any of it.

This requires an explicit mention.

The use of the word “infest” to talk about people is literally out of the Nazi/anti-Semites’ playbook for talking about the Jewish threat. It was also a standard for talking about Chinese in the western United States and it remains part of the vocabulary for talking about Romani (Gypsies) in parts of Europe. This is the most hard-boiled kind of racist demagogic language, the kind that in other parts of the world has often preceded and signaled the onset of exterminationist violence. The verb “to infest” is one generally used to describe insects or vermin (rats), creatures which are literally exterminated when they become present in a house or building or neighborhood.

Audio of children newly separated from their parents at the border. Listen here.

DHS Secretary Nielsen just finished her press conference on the family separation policy. It was aggressive, dishonest and included a turbulent exchange with reporters. Here are a few snippets of video I found noteworthy.

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Sen. Blumenthal says in today’s hearing that he sent a letter to FBI Director Wray on May 8th asking about the Giuliani issue. He says he’s received no reply. Blumenthal also read into the record a pretty detailed explanation of Nunes’ admission that got a leak from the FBI New York field office right after the Weiner laptop was found. But somewhat bizarrely, Blumenthal didn’t actually ask about that. He asked for assurances that there were no on-going leaks to either Giuliani or Nunes, which of course allowed Wray to completely ignore the whole issue. Not sure I understand the logic of that approach to the question.

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This is notable. According to testimony in the IG Report, one reason for the harsh criticism of Secretary Clinton in James Comey’s June 2016 statement was to assuage the concerns of FBI employees who said “You guys are finally going to get that bitch. We’re rooting for you.”

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It’s refreshing to see at least one Democratic member of Congress roundly address Rep. Devin Nunes’ (R-CA) apparent role pushing to restart the Clinton emails investigation in the final weeks of the 2016 election. Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) called Nunes “the President’s fixer in Congress.” But I would be highly, highly skeptical of DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s suggestion that the Rudy Giuliani/New York field office leaks are still under investigation. I’ve even seen some people speculating that he may be signaling the existence of a criminal probe that his office had to avoid interfering with. Again, be highly, highly skeptical.

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We are rightly in the midst of a news firestorm about the administration’s family separation policy. But there are a number of things bubbling in the background of the Russia probe that I think will prove more important than they now appear. I wanted to briefly update you on them.

News emerged this weekend that the Russia-backed Brexiters who campaigned for Trump during the 2016 election had one of their top aides arrested on money-laundering, fraud and blackmail charges shortly after he and his boss, Nigel Farage, attended the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. The guy’s name is George Cottrell, 23 years of age and apparently adept at operating in the so-called “dark web.” One of those top Brexiters, Andy Wigmore, who was already in regular contact with Russian diplomats, handed over a package of legal documents tied to Cottrell’s arrest and prosecution to one of those Russian diplomats.

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