Editor’s Blog

Thank You

Thank you to everyone who signed up for a first-time Prime membership over the last 24 hours. A truly awesome birthday present! But seriously, this is so critical to the site’s future. We will do our sign up drive this year, as usual. But we need to get a head start. If all goes according to plan in 2019, this will be the year when we’ll have built the subscription base that will sustain TPM into the future, the culmination of a transformation that goes back to 2015. So thank you. And if you’re a regular reader, you’ll really enjoy it. Prime and Prime AF are a very different experience. If you haven’t yet, please take a moment and sign up now.

Thank you.

Stop Talking About the 25th Amendment

Once again we’re back to this nonsense about the 25th Amendment. Alan Dershowitz claims that invoking it would amount to a coup d’etat, which is nonsensical since it is literally and expressly authorized by the constitution. But the 25th amendment actually doesn’t do jack. And yes, that’s the technical term. People still seem to think that it gives a majority of the cabinet the ability to remove the President.

It definitely does not. Read More

Roger Stone and the GRU Prime Badge
50

So get this. I turned 50 today. Read More

Stop What You’re Doing

Are you a regular TPM Reader who hasn’t become a member? If that’s you, I need to ask you to sign up for Prime. I get that you hear these things and they become white noise but it’s critical that we get all our regular readers to join. For an independent news site, there’s just no other way to make a go of it. Just click here. It’s fast. It’s pretty cheap ($5/month or $50/year) Your signing up makes a big difference in allowing us to keep our team doing what they do every day. Please take a moment, click here, and join right now.

Trump, Warlords and Failed States

Today is a really bad day for the country. But it also reminds me – it should remind you – that authoritarianism is most often born of incompetence and mismanagement. It seems like a paradox or a disconnect. But it’s not. They generally go together, as they do here.

Early in his administration Democrats were willing to vote to okay tens of billions of dollars for Trump’s vanity project wall. The price of that was little more than confirming in law what was already the case in practice, DACA protections. Trump rejected that, negotiated his way down to about one billion dollars for the kinds of border barriers the US was building before Trump ever proposed his wall. Now he’s trying to seize about a 10th of those funds – the original $50 billion offer – to build his signature wall. Read More

Original Argument

State Senator Lynn Hutchings (R) of Wyoming explaining her decision to vote against abolishing the death penalty: “The greatest man who ever lived died via the death penalty for you and me. I’m grateful to him for our future hope because of this. Governments were instituted to execute justice. If it wasn’t for Jesus dying via the death penalty, we would all have no hope.”

Wyoming is currently debating a bill that would abolish the state’s death penalty. The state’s last execution was in 1992.

(Credit to Radley Balko.)

Hmmm

I’m very curious about this David Ignatius column. It’s written with great drama and portent. But on its face, it contains not too much more than another version of Chairman Adam Schiff’s announcement that he’s planning a vastly expanded Russia probe that will reach much further into the President’s business and personal finances. The thing is that Ignatius is one of the most wired people in Washington when it comes to the nexus of international spycraft and US politics. His columns are frequently based on more than he can or chooses to explicitly reveal. Read More

Is Trump a Russian Asset?

Here’s John Brennan’s answer …

The Half-Life Ain’t Even That Long Anymore

Remember that bogus report from the Texas state government last month about 95,000 non-citizens on the voting rolls? That was three weeks ago and now the state official responsible, Secretary of State David Whitley, is having to apologize for it to the state’s Republican-dominated Senate.

Top Federal Labor Agency Fires Its Union

I’m not sure about the legalities of this. But it seems kind of remarkable. Federal Labor Relations Authority Chairwoman Colleen Duffy Kiko has announced that she’s decertifying the authority’s own union. In other words, she’s firing the agency’s union. Read More

A Trump Era Classic

A Minnesota Sheriff has been forced to intervene so no one gets hurt or killed in yet another Trumper-driven conspiracy theory, sort of a rural Pizzagate. Social media sites picked up news that a dog named “Donald Trump” had been shot and killed and decided it was a political statement against the President, with suspicions focused on a neighbor who the folks on social media decided was a Democrat. There have apparently been multiple threats of violence on various social media sites against imagined perpetrators, even though a law enforcement investigation concluded that the dog was shot by someone “legally protecting their livestock” on private property. Here’s the story. Read More

So Many Questions

Manafort-connected super PAC that’s caught up in two different aspects of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe didn’t report to the FEC a $1 million contribution until more than two years after the 2016 election. Josh Kovensky and Allegra Kirkland report.

Background Scuffles in the Mueller Probe

Documents unsealed today shed new light on a battle over what can be revealed of the inner-workings of the Mueller grand jury.

Sometimes A Cigar Is the Collusion

Before more time goes by I want to make sure you saw this piece by Josh Kovensky from last week: a secret meeting where at least part of the Trump/Russia collusion probably happened. Read it.

Important to Keep In Mind

Trump’s President. He can shut down the government. Some compromises are necessary. But these are points well-taken. From TPM Reader JB

Without quarreling with those who are arguing today that the leadership deal to fund government agencies is a humiliating defeat for Trump, I think we ought to remember a few things.

One, several hundred million taxpayer dollars wasted on ornamental fencing and barriers that will rip up land in the lower Rio Grande Valley is to be the price of saving a little face for Trump and his anti-immigrant supporters in Congress.

Read More

Barrack Defends Khashoggi Murder

In a bracingly candid comment, Trump confidante Tom Barrack said the murder of Jamal Khashoggi was basically fine and not nearly as bad as things America does. He also has this interesting line: “The atrocities in any autocratic country are dictated by the rule of law.”

Bigly

President Trump now policing anti-Semitism.

Sad

Trump appears low energy and climb-downy in first reactions to congressional deal.

Back to McConnell

As a number of people have noted, it’s not at all clear to me how President Trump can agree to this new bipartisan DHS border funding compromise without a humiliating climbdown. Democrats insisted that the limited funding for reinforcing the southern border can only be in the form of more of the fences that were approved and built before Trump’s presidency. That means we’re back to Mitch McConnell who is really the key person in this situation. Read More

They Have a Deal

Congressional negotiators say they have a deal to prevent a second government shutdown.

More Confirmation

Now we have the AP confirming that Bezos investigators have confirmed that Michael Sanchez, brother and manager of Bezos’s girlfriend Lauren Sanchez, is the one who gave texts and pictures to The National Enquirer.

Perverse Incentives

I urge you to read Josh Kovensky’s account of how Robert Mueller’s team came to suspect Paul Manafort was not living up to his plea agreement but was instead playing for a pardon from President Trump.

Thoughts on Ilhan Omar

I addressed this on Twitter. Let me try to address it here. Yesterday, freshman member of Congress Ilhan Omar riffed on a tweet by Glenn Greenwald about Kevin McCarthy and pro-Israel politics in Congress.

She responded and here was my response to hers …

Read More

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