EDITORS' BLOG
Where Things Stand: Did The WH Just Acknowledge ‘Potential’ Truth To Bolton’s Claims?
Prime Membership Required

Last night White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham appeared on the Trump administration-friendly Fox Business show “Lou Dobbs Tonight,” when she suggested that former National Security Adviser John Bolton was shamelessly selling his former administration access in his new book.

“How much does it cost to sell out potential national security in your country?” Grisham asked.

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How Things Look Now That We’ve Started The Second Week Of Impeachment Trial
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The second week of the Senate impeachment trial kicked off with two major developments: John Bolton’s claim of a Trump conversation where the President linked hold on Ukraine aid to investigation demands; and the President’s attorneys going all in on the Biden smear job.

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Almost Comical

You don’t need more evidence that Trump and Republicans are coopting the impeachment drama to advance the Biden smear campaign. But here’s Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) shouting the quiet part:

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Bolton News Scrambles Senate Impeachment Routine
Prime Membership Required

The already frenetic energy in the Capitol surrounding the Senate impeachment trial was taken up a notch Monday as senators returned to questions about the John Bolton revelations.

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The Executive Privilege Claims on Bolton Are Totally Fake
Prime Membership Required

A number of Republican senators and not a few commentators are now putting forward the argument that calling John Bolton to testify is a waste of time because the White House would bog the question down for months in the Courts. This is a bogus line of argument for two crystal clear reasons I want to briefly explain. It’s not a bad argument, it’s a fake one. It doesn’t exist.

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Polarized
Prime Membership Required

While the drama of the impeachment trial continues, we have a surge of new polling data. The Democratic primaries are generating a lot of new data. But I want to focus for the moment on the general election, impeachment and the President’s approval.

Two things are happening, which may seem to be inconsistent, but likely are not. The first is that impeachment and removal from office is getting more popular. Indeed, 538’s average of polls which focus specifically on impeachment and/or removal from office has now moved to just over 50% — 50.8% as of this morning.

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Where Things Stand: Explosive Bolton Allegations Complicate Trump’s Defense
Prime Membership Required

As we wrote this morning, new allegations outlined in an unpublished manuscript of former National Security Adviser John Bolton’s new book obtained by the New York Times claim that President Trump explicitly told Bolton the Ukraine military aid was directly tied to Trump’s push for investigations into the Bidens.

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A Disgrace

The New York Times is reporting that John Bolton recently began circulating the manuscript of this forthcoming book to associates in D.C. Critically, he also sent a copy to the White House for a pre-publication review. (In theory that is to review it for any classified information.) In it Bolton reportedly writes that in August 2019 President Trump told him he wanted to continue holding up military aid to Ukraine until Ukraine relented and helped with investigations into Joe Biden and other Democrats.

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Shattering the Shared Illusion

I didn’t see any of yesterday’s final closing arguments live. I was at an NYPD precinct filling out police reports with a gaggle of middle schoolers. (Long story; everyone and everything is fine.) So I got home at about 1 a.m. or 1:30 a.m. to this flurry of puffed up outrage about heads on pikes. It took me a bit to get a handle on exactly what had happened and what the pretended outrage was even about. You probably knew all those details already, quite possibly before I did.

But let’s step back from the clamor and nonsense to understand this.

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What Just Went Down
Prime Membership Required

President Trump’s defense opened Saturday with a swift 2-hour session that crammed everything but the kitchen sink into an argument that was designed first and foremost to undermine Adam Schiff’s reliability as a narrator. In a stinging irony, the White House lawyers maintained a sustained attack on the House managers for, of all things, hiding evidence.

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TPM Cafe
| Cafe

An in-depth look at the events leading up to the FBI's pre-dawn raid on Michael Cohen's hotel, office and apartment in spring 2018.

How we got here
| Muckraker

President Trump went down in history this month as the third president to be impeached, in part over an abuse of power allegation involving an attempt to extort Ukraine into attacking Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden.

But the story of the pressure campaign actually begins long before this year, with an individual who has gone without much mentioned during the impeachment inquiry: Paul Manafort.

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