Editor’s Blog

Hey, Wait! No, Really, Wait.

84 new Prime sign ups since Friday! Awesome. We’re closing in on our 2018 goal of 30,000 Prime subscribers, a critical benchmark for the future of TPM. Just under 600 sign ups to go. Are you a regular TPM Reader? Just haven’t found the time to sign up for Prime? We understand. Just do it today and all is forgiven! You’ll love the Prime version of the site and you’ll be supporting our independent, hard-hitting journalism. Just click here.

What Matters

For all the fireworks and all the details about the Turkish lobbying, the big issue here remains why Flynn was lying in the first place. He lied for a reason. It went to the heart of the pay offs to Russia after the election and indeed backchannel communications prior to the election.

What Was Flynn Thinking?
National Security Adviser Michael Flynn speaks during the daily news briefing at the White House, in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

We still don’t know what the sentence is. But Judge Emmet Sullivan is positively roasting General Flynn in court right now, all but calling him a traitor and goading prosecutors to say Flynn should lose credit for cooperation for trying to evade responsibility for his crimes in his sentencing memo. This raises a basic question. Why did Flynn try to claim he was set up by the FBI in his sentencing memo? Flynn himself could be naive or impulsive. But Flynn has top flight legal representation. Why would they do that? Read More

Trump Folds As Usual

White House suggesting Trump may be going low energy on his Wall government shutdown threat.

Underway

The Flynn sentencing hearing is underway. TPM’s Tierney Sneed is in the courtroom. We’ll bring you the details as they develop.

Late Update: 11:40 PM: Judge Sullivan was not impressed by Flynn’s sentencing memo, made him question whether he was actually accepting responsibility or indeed thought he was guilty. The Judge put the question to him and he said that he knew he couldn’t lie and was in fact guilty.

Today’s Agenda: Flynn Is Sentenced Prime Badge
Thinking About The News Business and TPM in 2019

Over the last week I’ve seen a handful of those ‘predictions for 2019’ articles by people who write about journalism and the journalism business. So I thought I’d add my own take, with a special emphasis on our own plans for 2019 and how the two things relate to each other. Read More

How Terrible a Lawyer is Rudy?

TPM Reader PB has this idea about what is behind Rudy Giuliani’s big revelation yesterday about the Trump Tower Moscow deal that apparently remained live through the 2016 election.

The last time Giuliani admitted a fact that was not publicly known, it was to get ahead of the Stormy Daniels story before it was disclosed in a likely indictment of Cohen. It seems safe to assume that he is revealing the fact that Trump was negotiating the Trump Tower Moscow deal/bribe in the closing days of the election for the same reason.

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The Door Rudy Opened Prime Badge
Quite a Statement

Rudy Giuliani says collusion is not a crime and in any case the collusion ended before the election.

This Is Super Important

We set a super ambitious goal this year that is critical to our organization’s future. We wanted to get to 30,000 Prime subscribers by the close of 2018. And we are really, really close. We’re currently at 29,351. So we are 649 subscribers short of that number with about half of December to go. I know from a lot of conversations – one as recently as yesterday – that there are still a lot of devoted readers who just haven’t gotten around to joining us. So if that’s you, this one is for you. It’s super easy to join and it’s just $4.99 a month, barely more than a fancy cup of coffee at the local cafe. Take a moment and take the plunge. Building what we’re building is super important. So like literally stop for a just a moment, break the slipstream of your daily routine … grab your wallet, get out the card and sign up.

The Weekly Standard’s Closing Should be Mourned

I didn’t want to write about The Weekly Standard’s closing until it was official. I was hoping that an angel would descend from the heavens, but it seems that the magazine’s owner, who was eager for the subscriber list for a magazine version of the Washington Examiner, did not want to sell.  You ask: Why should I – whose disagreements with the Standard’s editorial stances would fill a short book – care?  It has to do with the valuable role that opinion magazines like The Weekly Standard have played in American politics.
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It’s Really a Thing

This is an interesting read two-and-a-half years later.

Is This Secret Case Related To Mueller’s Investigation?

Tierney Sneed spent the morning at the D.C. federal courthouse looking into a sealed case that many reporters covering the Russia probe believe is related to Mueller’s work. She writes about her sleuthing for Prime members.

Greed and Corruption

Yesterday’s news is a good reminder of a fundamental point drawing together all unfolding scandals: The Trump campaign, like its parent organization the Trump Organization, was fabulously corrupt. That limitless, flagrant and ravenous corruption made it ripe for compromise, subversion and control by foreign actors.

Tantrum

In apparent fit over new legal woes, President Trump cancels annual White House holiday party for the press.

What Did The Enquirer Admit To?
In this Jan. 31, 2014 photo David Pecker,  David Pecker, Chairman and CEO of American Media, addresses those attending the Shape & Men's Fitness Super Bowl Party in New York. The Aug. 21, 2018 plea deal reached by Donald Trump's former attorney Michael Cohen has laid bare a relationship between the president and Pecker, whose company publishes the National Enquirer. Besides detailing tabloid’s involvement in payoffs to porn star Stormy Daniels and Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal to keep quiet about alleged affairs with Trump, court papers showed how David Pecker, a longtime friend of the president, offered to help Trump stave off negative stories during the 2016 campaign. (AP Photo/Marion Curtis)

It made a big, big stir yesterday when the Manhattan US Attorney’s announced yesterday that the parent company of The National Enquirer, AMI, had entered a non-prosecution agreement with prosecutors. AMI agreed that the Daniels and McDougal payments were meant to protect Trump’s campaign. I’m less impressed than others that this dramatically raises the legal stakes for Trump: AMI and Cohen vs Trump rather than Cohen vs Trump. This will never be a conventional trial, whether it’s in a courtroom or in the court of public opinion. More interesting to me is what else AMI revealed. Read More

Today’s Agenda: Butina In Court Prime Badge
Let the Looting Begin!!!

I’m glad this is finally getting some attention and sorry I hadn’t gotten on it earlier. The AP ran a piece yesterday about how Jared and Ivanka stand to profit from a wildly sleazy developer tax credit they pushed in the big tax cut bill last year. They’re called Qualified Opportunity Zones. And they create huge – and I mean huge – potential tax shelters for extremely wealthy people, especially those who play in the real estate game. Read More

Transcript Ownership Update

We went all in yesterday on that wild Oval Office meeting with Trump, Pelosi, Schumer and a wax figure version of Vice President Pence installed in the background. Here are the top video moments in case you missed it yesterday. But TPM Reader MRK flagged something I’d missed in all the antic energy of the moment. I don’t get the sense many others caught it either. Trump always shares everything going through his head out loud and in real time. And just before letting the Pelosi/Schumer tag team bait him into saying he was eager to shut down the government and make it his personal shutdown he said out loud what his original plan has been before Pelosi got in his face and slapped him around.

I’ll let MRK explain.

My heart was racing as I watched this insane interaction in the Oval Office today. If the stakes weren’t so high, it might have been enjoyable, although as things stand, I just feel nervous about what’s going to happen once Trump feels completely cornered.

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In the Courtroom

TPMers Allegra Kirkland and Josh Kovensky are in the courtroom in downtown Manhattan as we await word of Michael Cohen’s fate – which seems likely to be multiple years in prison. Here’s a primer on what’s coming.

The Flynn Mystery Prime Badge
The 2018 Golden Dukes Awards Nominees Are Here!

When it comes to scandals, 2018 was a doozy. Between the expansive Russia probe, the near-constant cabinet secretary snafus, and a wild midterm election, it’s hard to keep track of all the muck.

And so, as we do every year, we’ve rounded up some of the best instances of corruption, stupidity and craziness for the 12th Annual Golden Duke Awards!

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NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 13: Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's attorney, chats with friends near the Loews Regency hotel on Park Ave on April 13, 2018 in New York City. Following FBI raids on his home, office and hotel room, the Department of Justice announced that they are placing him under criminal investigation. (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)
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