Matt Shuham

Matt Shuham is a news writer for TPM. He was previously associate editor of The National Memo and managing editor of the Harvard Political Review. He is available by email at and on Twitter @mattshuham.

Articles by Matt

Work in the White House? Take a discount at Trump’s golf club.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, just weeks after proposing to kneecap the Obama administration’s borrower defense rule, now seeks to erase punishments for for-profit colleges that weight students down with debt. A department spokesperson joined the list of Trump administration press representatives to get unnecessarily and unusually personal.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s interim director, White House budget director Mick Mulvaney, thinks members of the military don’t really need the CFPB to proactively guard against financial fraud.

The President can whine all he wants about Amazon, it’s still getting billions from the federal government for rented server space. The Pentagon is shopping around for a new vault for its virtual information. It just so happens that its request for proposals “contains a host of technical stipulations that only Amazon can meet.”

“Environmental terrorist groups” are to blame for California’s historic forest fires, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke says. Humans are certainly to blame for the unprecedented intensity of this year’s fires, but not how Zinke means.

The EPA has a new proposal on the way to replace one of the Obama administration’s crowning environmental achievements, the Clean Power Plan. Essentially, they’ll tell coal power plants: Do whatever.

Read E&E News’ thoroughly-reported tale of the Trump administration checking off an endangered coal plant’s regulatory wish list, item-by-item.

Vanity Fair picked apart Stephen Miller’s shadow-darkened anti-immigration effort, while Miller’s uncle called him out for quarterbacking policies that would have condemned Miller’s own Yiddish-speaking great grandparents to religious persecution.

As expected, after the announcement of a recent change of sorts in its procedures, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is collaborating with Immigration and Customs Enforcement and is now acting more like a law enforcement agency than ever.

The National Park Service said Thursday it was a “misstep” to refuse access to the Statue of Liberty to a couple wearing “Abolish ICE” t-shirts.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross was, in a meticulously-researched report, accused of criminal conflict of interest by a watchdog group. If you’re a true Trump Swamp fan, read the whole complaint and let me know what you think.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders just made some stuff up Tuesday when she asserted that former President Obama created three times fewer African-American-held jobs in all his eight years than Trump has in 18 months. In reality, she was comparing two totally different sets of data, and, even in her sorry-not-sorry correction, blamed Obama for three months of George W. Bush job losses.

But anyway: Obama began his presidency at the height of a historic recession. And the bigger picture: Presidents can’t be directly credited (or blamed) for jobs numbers, and they especially can’t be considered to have “created” jobs “for African Americans,” as Sanders said. And the bigger picture still: Sanders brought all this up in the first place to change the topic when asked if the President had used a racial slur. The exhausting and shameless bad faith is itself corrupt and improper.

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Fox News on Thursday apologized “to Aretha Franklin’s family and friends” for putting a picture of Patti LaBelle in the background of a graphic showing the late “Queen of Soul,” who died Thursday.

The network made the mistake earlier Thursday. This graphic showed on air a few minutes after news broke of Franklin’s passing, showing LaBelle on the right:

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Trump 2020 campaign staffer and presidential daughter-in-law Lara Trump responded Thursday to former White House staffer Omarosa Manigault Newman releasing a recording of a conversation the two of them had  just days after Manigault Newman’s White House firing. 

“Woman to woman, I shared a connection with Omarosa as a friend and a campaign sister, and I am absolutely shocked and saddened by her betrayal and violation on a deeply personal level,” Lara Trump said in a written statement. 

Manigault Newman’s recording, one of several recorded conversations with Trump insiders she’s released in order to promote a new book, included Lara Trump offering her a $15,000 monthly salary to join the 2020 campaign.

Trump sounded concerned on the recording that Manigault Newman could become a critic of the President, or release damaging information about him to the press, otherwise. 

“Everything, everybody positive, right?” Trump asks at one point in the recorded call.

In her statement, Trump made no mention of a hush money payoff to Manigault Newman. 

Instead, she wrote that her family “was concerned” about Manigault Newman after her firing by White House chief of staff John Kelly “because we had no idea about the basis of her dismissal.” 

“We still wanted her on our team because we cared so much about her personally,” Lara Trump wrote.

Read the full statement below:

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Omarosa Manigault Newman released another secretly-recorded conversation with someone in President Donald Trump’s inner circle on Thursday, the latest in a series of such clips she’s published to promote a new tell-all book.

In the recording, Lara Trump — the President’s daughter-in-law and a top staffer on his 2020 reelection campaign — is heard offering Manigault Newman a $15,000 monthly salary to join the campaign.

“It sounds a little like, obviously, that there are some things you’ve got in the back pocket to pull out,” Lara Trump is heard saying at one point, possibly referring to harsh comments or damaging information Manigault Newman could release to the press about the President.

“Clearly, if you come on board the campaign, like, we can’t have— We’ve got to— Everything, everybody positive, right?”

Manigault Newman has claimed that the $15,000 salary carried with it a requirement to sign a strict nondisclosure agreement, and Trump campaign staffers have confirmed that they signed NDAs on the 2016 campaign.

The White House has even acknowledged requiring staffers to sign NDAs covering their government work, which experts say are unenforceable and unconstitutional.

The recording of Lara Trump and Manigault Newman’s conversation does not include any explicit discussion of an NDA.

MSNBC’s Craig Melvin said the conversation took place on December 16, 2017, days after Manigault Newman’s firing from the White House. He said the New York Times article Lara Trump mentions, by Maggie Haberman, appears to be “Omarosa, Leaving the White House, Suggests the Show Will Go On,” published on December 15.

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President Donald Trump’s military parade is estimated to cost $92 million — a whopping $80 million more than an earlier estimate, according to an unnamed “U.S. defense official with firsthand knowledge of the assessment,” CNBC reported Thursday.

In July, CNN reported that the parade would cost approximately $12 million, according to three unnamed U.S. defense officials. In February, White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney told Congress the parade would cost between $10 million and $30 million.

CNBC reported Thursday that the $92 million figure would be split between the Pentagon, $50 million, and the Department of Homeland Security and other “interagency partners,” $42 million.

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Former CIA Director John Brennan on Wednesday called President Donald Trump’s decision to strip his security clearance “part of a broader effort” to “suppress freedom of speech & punish critics.”

“I do believe that Mr. Trump decided to take this action, as he’s done with others, to try to intimidate and suppress any criticism of him or his administration,” Brennan told MSNBC’s Nicole Wallace.

“Revoking my security clearances is his way of trying to get back at me,” Brennan added.

The White House has never cited any abuse by Brennan of his security clearance during Trump’s presidency.

Watch below:

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Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Wednesday announced President Donald Trump’s decision to revoke former CIA Director John Brennan’s security clearance, but neglected to say that decision had apparently been made three weeks ago, according to a document distributed to members of the media after Wednesday’s press briefing.

Sanders announced the security clearance revocation without any mention that it seemingly wasn’t breaking news, nor any explanation for why it had apparently been kept a secret.

“Today, in fulfilling that responsibility [to protect the nation’s classified information], I have decided to revoke the security clearance of John Brennan,” Sanders read, quoting a statement from Trump.

But the statement was dated July 26, according to a document distributed to members of the media.

Sanders first mentioned that Trump was looking into revoking the security clearances of several critics of his — all of whom were former intelligence and national security officials — on July 23.

Why did Sanders maintain that Trump ordered Brennan’s clearance revoked on Wednesday? Was the July 26 date a mistake? Or, was it perhaps because she’d have some difficult questions to deal with today otherwise, on whether the President has used racial slurs, or how she could have screwed up statistics she cited regarding African American employment during the Obama administration.

Sanders didn’t respond to TPM’s request for comment about the Trump statement. But the White House seems to have realized it made an error.

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Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey on Wednesday stood behind his company’s decision to temporarily ban conspiracy theorist Alex Jones from the platform, rather than permanently ban him and his program as other tech platforms have done, after Jones on Tuesday called for supporters to ready their “battle rifles” against members of the media.

“Any suspension, whether it be a permanent or a temporary one, makes someone think about their actions and their behaviors,” Dorsey told NBC News’ Lester Holt, after calling the temporary ban a “time out.”

Jones was banned for a week from the platform after posting a Periscope video in which he urged viewers to ready their “battle rifles.”

“People need to have their battle rifles and everything ready at their bedsides, and you’ve got to be ready, because the media is so disciplined in their deception,” he said.

“Whether it works within this case to change some of those behaviors and change some of those actions, I don’t know,” Dorsey added later. “But this is consistent with how we enforce.”

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“Fox and Friends’” co-host Brian Kilmeade said Wednesday that former White House staffer Omarosa Manigault Newman “seems to have outsmarted the President,” who he said had “taken the bait” by tweeting attacks at her, boosting her book sales.

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Former Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday cancelled an appearance at an Illinois Democratic event due to “doctor’s orders not to travel.”

Biden had been scheduled to address the Illinois Democratic County Chairs’ Association brunch in Springfield on Thursday.

A spokesperson for Biden told CNN he would be “fine in a few days.”

Illinois Democratic County Chairs’ Association President Doug House wrote in a statement posted to Facebook Tuesday night, “Everyone who knows Vice President Biden knows that he gives our party and our country his all, but unfortunately he is sick and is under doctor’s orders not to travel.”

“The cancellation is of course disappointing, but it is clear that the circumstances are simply unavoidable,” House added.

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