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Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

Will there be more of this?

At a panel event at the Heritage Foundation, former Ted Cruz presidential campaign spokesman Ron Nehring said that during the primaries he got a very different response when he criticized Donald Trump than any other candidate. The pattern he noted was about what you’d expect: When he was critical of Donald Trump he was inundated with hostile responses on Twitter and from accounts which followed a particular pattern.

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In my post this morning about Wilbur Ross’s role in the Puerto Rican debt crisis, I suggested that President Trump’s overnight suggestion that Puerto Rico’s public debt would need to be wiped clean might just be a throwaway line.

Well, yes, it was just a throwaway line. Or that’s what the evidence now suggests. Trump’s OMB Director Mick Mulvaney advised that we not take what Trump said “word for word.” He also suggested that he spoke at length to Trump on the flight back after the interview. So Trump agrees.

Yesterday we were beguiled and aghast at President Trump’s awful and ridiculous comments in Puerto Rico. Soon enough though we’ll come back to what seems to be his major fixation: Puerto Rico’s public debt. Does President Trump own any of that debt? What about his family and associates? It’s not a crazy idea. We know very little about the President’s finances and assets. But I was curious about why it was such a focus of his even if he doesn’t stand to gain personally.

Then last night, he seemed to shift gears entirely, telling Geraldo Rivera that the government would “have to wipe that [debt] out” entirely. “You can say goodbye” to the existing debt no matter who takes a loss. He focused on “Goldman Sachs.” Was someone else talking to him? Was he just affected by what he saw? Was it all a show? Or will he just go back to his debt-punitive approach once he’s back? To this end, I was surprised to hear from TPM Reader RM that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, a close associate and advisor of the President’s, was until quite recently the biggest shareholder and a board member of the company that is one of the biggest and most aggressive holders of the risk tied to Puerto Rico’s public debt.

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Just out from CNN: Russia Facebook campaign specifically targeted Michigan and Wisconsin and key demographic groups within those states.

From CNN …

A number of Russian-linked Facebook ads specifically targeted Michigan and Wisconsin, two states crucial to Donald Trump’s victory last November, according to four sources with direct knowledge of the situation.

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It’s probably just a detail in a horrific story, rather than something that will be critical to understanding it. But I wanted to flag one aspect of the story. What did Stephen Paddock do for a living? And where did he get his money?

There have been reports, though not really confirmed, that he was actually a wealthy man, perhaps a real investor. He wired his girlfriend $100,000 a week ago. He also reportedly rented a series of condos over another outdoor concert that he had apparently considered attacking before choosing this country music concert. Those certainly suggest a decent amount of liquid assets, though if you knew you were about to end your life a middle-class person could likely sell things and come up with that amount of cash.

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