Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

Something is brewing on Capitol Hill that has an eerie resemblance to another set of events that happened just about 12 years ago as Washington hurtled toward the 2006 midterm election. In September 2006, ABC News first reported that Congressman Mark Foley (R-FL) had exchanged sexually explicit text messages with underage male congressional pages. Later it was reported that after turning 18 at least two pages had had sexual encounters with Foley. Foley resigned from Congress and entered an alcohol rehabilitation program on October 2nd. Later Foley revealed that he had himself been molested years earlier as a 13-year-old altar boy by a priest named Anthony Mercieca — claims Mercieca appeared to confirm in an interview with the Sarasota Herald-Tribune a week later.

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There’s a little gem packed away in this article from The Daily Beast on that GOP-only Senate delegation to Moscow. Apparently US diplomats who briefed the Senators told them that Russian officials are under the impression that only Democrats care about or are critical of Russian election meddling and incursions in Eastern Europe.

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As I mentioned over the weekend and as Alice Ollstein has been reporting, the Trump administration moved from its very lax standard for separating families to a very high bar for reuniting them. It not only wanted lots of proof that parents were parents but also that they were ‘fit’ parents. A judge in the case just told the administration to knock it off: just reunite the families and don’t create needless obstacles.

Mike Flynn is still cooperating with the Mueller probe and awaiting sentencing. But life goes on and he just signed on with a new and quite shady foreign lobbying outfit run by a former Trump staffer who used to be lobbying for Qatar until a few weeks ago. They apparently dropped the Qatar gig when Elliott Broidy sued them claiming they helped hack his emails. Small world! Mike Jr., who was pushing the Seth Rich conspiracy theory as recently as yesterday, also gets a job.

There is a fascinating, fascinating article published yesterday in The New Yorker which brings together, or appears to bring together, the two key halves of the Trump/Russia investigation. Reading it is like an epiphany, though I’m a bit chagrined to say it is since in many ways it’s all been there in plain sight all along.

Here’s the story.

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I’ve been trying to find a reliable source with numbers of how many federal and state law enforcement officers were mobilized in the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupation and stand off. I think over time it must have been hundreds when you consider the FBI, Oregon State police and law enforcement personnel from numerous municipalities in Oregon. There’s plenty of numbers for what the whole thing cost – many millions of dollars. But I’m interested in the numbers of people. The Hammonds were going to jail for having committed repeated acts of arson. They were behind a stand off in which dozens or hundreds of law enforcement officers were repeatedly threatened with violence and toward the end had to very directly endanger their lives. To put it mildly, pardoning these men as upstanding symbols of American virtue shows a pretty clear indifference to law breaking and the safety of federal law enforcement agents if you’re a certain kind of person and if your crime is tied to right wing political extremism. If you know where I can find those numbers – the total number of law enforcement officers deployed – please drop me a line.

Here’s a tweet from the US President, en route to Europe for the NATO summit.

This is a straight up lie. None NATO member states are behind on any payments to NATO. The entire NATO unified budget is under $2 billion. The US pays 21% of that total. I explain some of these details here.

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As outrageous as the Dinesh D’Souza pardon was, I’m not terribly concerned that there’s going to be a ramp up in middle-aged racist charlatans using their mistresses as straw donors in federal campaigns. But President Trump’s pardon of the militia types who inspired the Bundy militia standoff back in early 2016 really is like announcing open season on federal law enforcement. It will also dramatically increase an existing problem: which is that far-right, white militias in the West can commit acts of terrorism and violate federal law more or less with impunity. As I wrote at the time, the whole exercise amounted to a kind of white privilege performance art. President Trump really is instituting factional government. If you support Trump, he’ll have your back against the law.