Mshuham2

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 mshuham@talkingpointsmemo.com and on Twitter @mattshuham.

Articles by Matt

In 2016, when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced Republicans’ plan to keep the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat open until the next president took office, a year away, he issued a conclusive statement: “The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new President.”

On Sunday, after the confirmation of the second Supreme Court justice nominated by President Donald Trump — and with the potential for more Supreme Court nominations before Election Day in 2020 — McConnell rewrote his own invented rule in Republicans’ favor.

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Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens said Thursday, as first reported by the Palm Beach Post, that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s performance at last week’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing had convinced him Kavanaugh was unfit to be confirmed. CSPAN was in attendance filming the interview in which Stevens made the remark. Watch below:

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Two hundred members of Congress can continue with an emoluments lawsuit against President Donald Trump, a federal judge ruled Friday. In a 58-page opinion, Judge Emmet Sullivan denied the President’s motion to dismiss the suit, and said the legislators had a legitimate case to make that Trump, by not asking Congress for permission to accept revenue from foreign governments through his hotels and other businesses, had acted unconstitutionally.

In July, Judge Peter Messitte similarly ruled against Trump’s effort to dismiss an emoluments suit brought by the District of Columbia and the state of Maryland.

Trump has certainly tried to profit from his presidency, no matter how often his sons inaccurately protest that he is no longer involved with the family business. Forbes detailed where things stand in a report Tuesday: A new, “Middle America”-themed, Trump-branded hotel chain hasn’t been especially profitable, but the President himself is a majority owner. And, by quickly jumpstarting his 2020 reelection campaign in 2017, Trump has, by Forbes’ count, turned $900,000 of supporters’ campaign donations into revenue for his businesses.

The State of New York and New York City have both announced that they’re following up on a breakthough New York Times report on Trump’s history of “outright fraud” and tax evasion. Aside from detailing the at least $413 million in assets, cash and services Trump received from his father, in addition to tens of millions in loans, the report also laid out a buffet of tax code violations.

Trump’s lawyer and his family have denied wrongdoing. In a press briefing, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders refused to deny specific findings in the report, simply calling the whole thing a “false attack.”

E&E News reports that former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt was working to set up a legal defense fund headed by Republican megalawyer Cleta Mitchell in November 2017. That was months before Pruitt’s various scandals boiled over, fueling public outrage. The EPA Inspector General was reviewing Pruitt’s travel expenses at the time, but we had not yet learned about Pruitt’s targeting of EPA employees for retaliation and his extravagant spending of government funds, nor about his decision to rent an apartment from a lobbyist with business before his agency.

At the height of public backlash against the Trump administration’s family separation policy, officials at the Department of Homeland Security (which houses ICE and Border Patrol) and the Department of Health and Human Services (which took custody of separated children) assured the public that they had created a cross-agency database to more easily reunite families. A DHS inspector general’s office report released Tuesday reveals that was a lie: investigators found no evidence of such a database. A spreadsheet of information was eventually created, but only after the false claim had been made.

The inspector general’s report contains other disturbing details, including that some families may even have been able to be reunited within hours of separation, but weren’t because Customs and Border Protection officials wanted “to avoid doing the additional paperwork.”

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Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman (R-IA) Chuck Grassley said Thursday that there had been “enough time” spent on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination, despite it being fewer than three weeks since Kavanaugh’s first public accuser of sexual assault, Christine Blasey Ford, came forward with her story.

“This is the 87th day” since Kavanaugh was nominated, Grassley told reporters Thursday. “That’s three weeks longer than the average of the last three or four nominees to the Supreme Court, so don’t tell me we haven’t spent enough time.”

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Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) said Thursday that he had seen “no additional corroborating information” after viewing the results of the FBI background investigation of allegations of sexual misconduct against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, CNN reported.

CNN noted that Flake said he needed to “finish reviewing the material,” in the network’s words, and that Flake agreed with Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), who said the probe was “thorough.”

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