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Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

President doubles down on family separation as deterrent (from pool) …

Q: Reaction to latest deadline missed on child reunions?

“Well, I have a solution. Tell people not to come to our country illegally. That’s the solution. Don’t come to our country illegally. Come like other people do. Come legally.

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I’m skeptical that Democrats can defeat Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to serve as a Justice of the Supreme Court. But I’m not skeptical about trying. Kavanaugh has been a reliable ideologue and partisan for most of his Washington career. Since 2006 he’s served on the DC Court of Appeals as a Supreme Court nominee in waiting. Elite universities, Federalist Society, prestige clerkships, the 90s-era anti-Clinton DC cabal, top Bush aide, cue-up circuit court judge — if you were cooking up youngish Republican judicial ideologues for Supreme Court service it’s hard to see how they’d look any different than Brett Kavanaugh. This is why I had little doubt he’d eventually get the nod. President Trump outsources Supreme Court picks and the whole inertial force of the institutional Republican party exists to put guys like Brett Kavanaugh on the Court.

Here are a few things that we should start scrutinizing now.

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As we move toward the NATO Summit and the Putin-Trump summit, I thought it made sense to review some of the details behind the President’s demands that NATO member countries pay up and stop doing what he regards as freeloading on the U.S. taxpayer’s dime. Most people have a general sense that Trump doesn’t seem to grasp how an alliance works, that it’s not meant to function as a protection racket. But the actual details are both sillier and more significant than it may seem on the surface.

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The British government seems to be falling apart over Brexit. Boris Johnson has resigned as Foreign Secretary. This comes after the overnight resignation of the Brexit minister. Prime Minister May is already running a minority government with a so-called “confidence and supply” agreement with the Northern Ireland Democratic Unionists.

One of the issues we’re going to cover in our Voting Rights and Democracy series is the issue of felon disenfranchisement. The Florida Phoenix recently published an article which reported that in mid-June an African-American, Erwin Jones, appeared before Governor Rick Scott’s cabinet to petition to have his voting rights restored. (The cabinet in this case sits as the Executive Clemency Board.) When Jones appeared before the Board, Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis pressed him on how many children he had and “how many different mothers to those children?”

Patronis pressed another petitioner about his church attendance. Each of these men had committed felonies and at least five years had passed since their imprisonment and parole had ended.

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Rep. Jim Jordan (R), hit with multiple accusations that he knew about but failed to take action against a sexual abuser, just gave a hyper-aggressive interview to Fox News’ Bret Baier. First, this wasn’t your standard Hannity/Tucker-style Fox interview. Baier wasn’t antagonistic but he was deliberate and focused and pressed Jordan on the key points. Jordan attacked his accusers, particularly the first one who came forward, Mike DiSabato. But what was most revealing is that Jordan repeatedly fell back on the distinction between ‘locker room talk’ and formal accusations. “Conversations in a locker room are a lot different than allegations of abuse or reported abuse to us,” Jordan told Baier.

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The Trump administration is making some remarkable arguments in the on-going child/family separation cases, making it seem like they actually want to slow roll their way into making the separations permanent. As Alice Ollstein explains, the government says it needs more time to determine whether the “putative parents” (i.e., people saying they want their kids back) are in fact real parents (people with a true custodial relationship to the children in question) and further whether are fit parents. In other words, having used the criminal law to meet the very high standard required to separate children from their parents, the government is now arguing that it needs to apply a very high standard to give them back. The government is further arguing that it should not be compelled to reunify families in which parents have already been deported because of the difficulty of doing so.

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Over time, Donald Trump’s tax returns have been something like the great white whale of those obsessed with freeing the United States from the scourge of Trump Era corruption: critical, singular and yet seemingly permanently out of reach. The country has been collectively asking for them for more than two years. But President Trump seems to have simply gotten away with keeping secret the financial information without which it’s basically impossible to know whether he is using the presidency as a family profit center or committing more specific offenses like violating the emoluments clause of the constitution. It is also worth noting that we’re no longer just talking about the 2015 returns that were at issue during the campaign but the 2016 and 2017 returns as well.

As I’ve explained, however, the President’s tax returns are very much on the ballot this November. If the Democrats take over the House of Representatives they can and I suspect will subpoena the President’s tax returns and get them. Nor is this simply a matter of partisan score-settling. There is simply no way to conduct meaningful oversight of a President who insists on continued ownership of his private businesses without this information. So with that, here is how this can actually happen, the specific laws and House rules which would allow members of a future Democratic majority to get hold of the President’s returns.

The details of how it would happen are interesting and significant.

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There are now five former Ohio State wrestlers who say Jim Jordan knew about but took no action about sexual abuse by the team doctor on the University wrestling team during the time he was an assistant coach. (The team Doctor, Richard Strauss, has since died.) Jordan deserves due process and a presumption of innocence, despite giving those to no one else who has entered his crosshairs. In Congress, that means an Ethics Committee investigation. The accusations in this case precede Jordan’s time in Congress. And I think the House Ethics Committee’s purview may not extend to that. But from what I can tell there’s been no move to call for any investigation from Jordan’s Republican colleagues.

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