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Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

This is big.

As you may have heard, this evening The Wall Street Journal published a major follow-up to its story from Thursday which described the work of a GOP money man and oppo research guy, the late Peter W. Smith, who was trying to get hacked emails from Russia and held himself out to be in contact with disgraced Trump advisor Michael Flynn. On its face, the big new break in this follow-up story is a new document from Smith. The document is from what is described as a package of recruiting materials Smith was using to enlist cybersecurity talent in his operation. The document listed key officials in the Trump campaign. These were apparently people Smith claimed he was in touch with or working with, though precisely how or why they were mentioned is not entirely clear.

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Some of you remember the 2006/07 US Attorneys firing scandal. What most people don’t clearly remember is that the US Attorneys scandal was really a voter suppression scandal. The US Attorney firings were just a secondary operation meant to root out US Attorneys who wouldn’t play ball with political appointees at the Department of Justice and the White House on the broader voter suppression operation.

What we have now with President Trump’s ‘Election Integrity’ Commission is a much more thorough-going, ambitious and open effort to do the same thing. It’s like an AUMF targeting non-white voters and secondarily anyone who votes for Democrats with any regularity. The people getting top positions on the Commission are basically the worst of the worst from the 2006/07 days. It’s really that bad. And they’re already trying to pull together all the confidential voter data from every state in the union.

You’ve no doubt seen the Wall Street Journal article about the GOP operative and money man who assembled a team to get a hold of Russia-hacked Clinton emails and claimed he was working in concert with disgraced Trump advisor Mike Flynn. From my read, this is one of those articles which is as interesting for what it doesn’t say as what it does. It raises all sorts of questions, a number of which the Investigations Desk will be digging into today.

Here are some basic questions I had.

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We’ve already seen, repeatedly, that when Donald Trump wants to attack women the first go-to is that they’re either stupid or crazy and likely both. In this he is hardly unique. But in today’s attack on Mika Brzezinski what stood out was his insistence that he refused to meet with her at Mar-a-Lago because “she was bleeding badly from a face-lift.”

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We have just 82 53 32 membership sign ups to go to get to 22,000 total subscribers, our goal for the end of June. If you’re thinking about subscribing, take a moment now and join us. Half my life is putting things off. I get it. But step aside from your routine for just two minutes. Sign up, get a better version of TPM with fewer ads and more features and help us build the next TPM. Click right here. Thank you.

Not long ago I was talking with my colleague David Kurtz. We agreed that in many respects the big mainstream media players – the ‘MSM’ – had exceeded our expectations in grappling with the novelty and strong-manism of President Trump and his entourage. Reporters aggressively press for access, normal on-camera press conferences and against raise a clamor at all the petty and sometimes trivial ways the Trump White House tries to put reporters and news organizations in their place. We now see major media outlets – newspapers and TV networks – cataloguing the President’s lies. And calling them ‘lies’. This isn’t remotely like anything we’ve seen before. My point here isn’t to say things are peachy and everything’s perfect. I’m as big a press critic as ever. But much of what one might have feared about a corporate, mainstream media normalizing Trump’s abnormal, unAmerican behavior actually has not happened.

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NiemanLab is one of the major industry publications about trends in digital news media. They interviewed me a few days ago about the changes we’re making at TPM, especially our strategy of shifting toward a more subscriber based business model. Here’s the interview. There’s even a funny part of the interview where the reporter asks me about my growing propensity for doodling. Hope you find it interesting.

And lest I forget. We are now 102 membership sign-ups short of our June goal. The intro to the article says: “Josh Marshall, the founder of the liberal political news site Talking Points Memo (which turns 17 this year), isn’t shy about sharing numbers and publicly setting goals for the site.” In other words, I’m utterly exposed here with our June goal. So if you’re thinking about becoming a member I’m sending you telepathic encouragement to make it today or tomorrow. Click here.

One premise or hope of ACA supporters has been the belief that once new access to health care had been extended it would be politically difficult or even impossible to claw it back. This is the political logic which has guarded Medicare and Social Security for decades.

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Last year I told you we were shifting our business model to a greater reliance on subscription revenue and as a core part of that decision redoubling our commitment to investigative reporting, muckraking in the TPM tradition and original reporting of all sorts. You, our readers, have matched our hopes and ambitions. So today I sent this staff announcement to the TPM team, explaining two key staffing moves as we build toward those goals.

Team,

As we get the new TPM Investigations Desk off the ground, I have two big staff announcements.

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