Josh Marshall

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Josh Marshall is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of TPM.

‘Perla’ Behind Another Flight and Stranded Migrants Prime Badge

There was a scramble at Delaware Coastal Airport near Georgetown, Delware Tuesday as state authorities and immigrant support organizations rushed to be ready to receive a plane filled with migrants from Texas. The DeSantis administration leaked word to reporters in Florida about the flight. There was no official word from anyone in Delaware but rumors abounded that such a flight was on its way from Texas and would arrive by 1:30 p.m. But the plane never showed. Courtesy of TPM Reader DC we have a report on the commotion here. Later, DeSantis spokesperson Christine Pushaw tweeted that the whole flight rumor was “disinformation.” But it wasn’t. Venezuelan migrants in San Antonio had been recruited. A charter flight had been booked.

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No Plush Pillows in the Big House

Big trouble. Pillow capo Mike Lindell is under federal investigation for identity theft and damaging a protected computer tied to that the big voting equipment breach in Colorado.

Circuit Court Gives Feds Partial Stay of Judge Cannon Order Prime Badge

A three judge panel of the 11th circuit has granted the Justice Department motion to stay a key part of Judge Cannon’s recent special master ruling. Cannon ruled that they could not continue using the classified documents in their criminal investigation while the special master, Judge Dearie, is doing his work. This three judge panel has overruled Cannon on that point. It’s an important win for the DOJ, though it is perhaps slightly less consequential since Judge Dearie has signaled he plans to move rapidly to do his review. Two of the three judges are Trump appointees.

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House GOPs Come Out of the Abortion Ban Closet Prime Badge

House Republicans appear to have accidentally published their “commitment to America” program before unpublishing it. But Nancy Pelosi’s office got screenshots. There’s a lot of what you’d expect, much of it predictably vague – of the “be excellent to each other” type of generic exhortation. But it does include a pledge to “protect the lives of unborn children and their mothers.” Given that this is the federal Congress, and Congress’s job is to make laws, clearly this means an abortion ban of some sort. And Pelosi’s office has interpreted it as such. (They note that about 80% of House Republicans are already cosponsoring a national abortion ban after conception.) But you can see that GOP House strategists have left it vague enough to try to get reporters to refrain from calling it that while the GOP’s pro-life supporters will know precisely what it means.

You Must Watch This New DeSantis Explanation Prime Badge

This new video of Ron DeSantis’s 10th explanation of who he was funding in Texas really has to be seen to be believed. (Video below.) He says that he can’t ship migrants from Florida, as the state legislature authorized money to do, because there aren’t enough migrants coming into the state. There’s no “mass movement.” It’s just one or two people at a time driving to Florida. There’s no way to deal with that efficiently because there aren’t enough people. (Needless to say, however people are entering the state, if the state is overrun you just pick them up locally.) But, he says, he has “intelligence” operatives in Texas and they have learned that from “30% to 40%” of migrants in Texas intend to come to Florida.

In other words, there’s a tidal wave of people apparently about to come. Just not yet. Follow? Good.

So what to do? The most efficient way to deal with this is to go to Texas, profile people who seem likely to later come to Florida and fly them to states run by Democrats. That means “the chance they end up in Florida is much less.”

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High On Their Own Supply

We have many more details on the hearing this afternoon in Brooklyn, where Josh Kovensky was at the courtroom reporting for us. But Judge Dearie, aka “the special master,” is leaving the Trumpers pretty disappointed in today’s hearing. The amazing thing is that they asked for Dearie because they managed to convince themselves that his involvement with the FISA court and the Carter Page matter had made him into an anti-Deep State zealot, or an “FBI-skeptic,” as the Trumpers put it. That seems like quite a silly surmise, to put it mildly. There had been confusion that Trump’s team had requested him, a respected senior-status judge. Now we know why. Now they’re finding out that he’s your average federal judge, the type who goes in with the assumption that classified documents are classified rather than owned by former Presidents, the type who doesn’t go in with the assumption that the FBI is run by Antifa. I’m surprised that I’m surprised that they managed to bamboozle themselves like this.

DeSantis's public comments offer some helpful clues about who is actually behind those flights to Martha's Vineyard.

I’ve said a few times that the consistent testimony of all those Venezuelan migrants describes an operation that is simply not a government operation, not an operation managed by government employees: people with business cards with only a first name, fabricated government brochures, contract quotas, all the rest. Governments and government workers can act with horrible callousness and brutality. But they do so in certain formal and bureaucratic ways. These were clearly not government employees. And on this there are actually some clues in DeSantis’ public statements.

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Sheriff from San Antonio Opens Investigation

Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar (San Antonio) opened a criminal investigation into DeSantis/Martha’s Vineyard flights. He says he’s working with the lawyers representing the migrants who were shipped to Martha’s Vineyard. “I believe there is some criminal activity involved here, but at present, we are trying to keep an open mind and we are going to investigate to find out and to determine what laws were broken if that does turn out to be the case,” Salazar said in a press conference Monday.

The Search for “Perla”

The national news media seems to have lost interest entirely in the story of the Venezuelan immigrants shipped off to Martha’s Vineyard as part of Gov. Ron DeSantis’s reelection campaign. The meta-story of course continues to get some attention — how it plays into the midterm, who it helps or hurts as a political story, etc. But I mean what actually happened. That’s unfortunate both in journalistic and political terms because even the barest look at the details we know make it very unlikely this was an official or on-the-books government operation. And yet it’s one Gov. Desantis has publicly taken credit for and said was paid for with taxpayer funds from Florida.

In the absence of any national press interest the search for answers has been left to a few local news outlets and LULAC, the Latino civil rights organization. Representatives of LULAC, including national president Domingo Garcia, went to Martha’s Vineyard on Friday to talk to the asylum-seekers and get more details about what happened. They were able to flesh out the story about “Perla” and her team in San Antonio. Basically all the stories matched to a T. LULAC has posted a $5,000 reward for information leading to her identification. LULAC is also canvassing this week in San Antonio trying to find out more information.

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Annals of Incitement Prime Badge

Another thing I wanted to flag for you. At his rally in Youngstown, Ohio on Saturday Donald Trump appeared to take a decisive new step in embracing the QAnon conspiracy theory. He’s been dog whistling about it for years. But at this rally there was an especially dark and fetid tone and the rally concluded with what was either the Q movement song or one that was so similar as to be indistinguishable from it. (Yes, there’s a movement song.) The crowd responded with an index finger salute — also a Q movement trademark — as they swayed to the music and Trump’s rhythmic incitement. This comes after various posts on Trump’s “Truth Social” Twitter clone site which now openly embrace Q.

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