Editor’s Blog

Time To Wrap It Up?

With Vice President Mike Pence telling us that “In the interest of the country, I think it’s time to wrap it up” I thought some perspective was in order. (Click through for full sized image.)

State Probing Reassignment Of Officials To Menial Jobs

Under the Trump administration, the State Department took veteran career officials who were working on key issues like closing Gitmo and resettling refugees, and reassigned them to process FOIA requests.

Democrats have been asking questions about the reassignments for months. And now, Alice Ollstein reports exclusively, the State Department IG office has said it’s investigating the issue.

Giuliani Time!

In bracing act of symbolism, Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani car-doored an unsuspecting pedicab driver when getting out of his SUV today in New York City.

What Are Democratic Voters Looking For?

Our Senior Political Correspondent Cameron Joseph has been keeping a close eye on the primaries, and is taking readers’ questions about them. His latest column is here (Prime access), and takes a look at races that could serve as a test of whether Democratic voters are in a moderate or progressive mood this year.

Watch the Whole Video

There were a lot of questions raised by Trump supporters yesterday about when President Trump referred to people as “animals.” The argument is that he wasn’t referring to immigrants or even undocumented immigrants in general. He was supposedly referring to hardened MS-13 gang members. That’s not true. The comment comes in an interchange with a county sheriff in which the sheriff complains about how the state laws in California have made it harder for her department to work with ICE. I went back and grabbed the longer exchange so people can watch for themselves.

The exchange is with Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims … Read More

First on TPM

This afternoon in Los Angeles Michael Avenatti’s former law partner sued Avenatti for breach of contract and failure to pay $2 million as part of an earlier settlement. Here’s our report with the lawsuit itself

Taking Stock of Today’s Storm of Revelations

We have another of those days where the rush of miscellaneous revelations tied to the Trump-Russia probe just keeps coming and the day won’t quit. The TPM Team has already covered the various stories emerging out of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s release of documents and interviews tied to the Trump Tower meeting in June 2016. But a bunch more came late in the day.

Ronan Farrow reported on the source who revealed those Michael Cohen bank documents. It’s not just this person’s personal decision that is notable but the fact that he or she says two other reports have apparently been removed or hidden in the government SARs database. That’s why the person says they leaked the document — to call attention to these other missing reports. It’s really not clear where this lead in the story goes. Read More

Ooops

In new government ethics filing, Trump forced to disclose Cohen payments he hid last year.

Update

I’m reading through these documents.

LOL

Julian Assange hacked the Ecuadorean Embassy’s computer network as his relationship with his host’s deteriorated.

Israel at 70, Ivanka and Jared in Jerusalem, and Carnage in Gaza

When I start railing about Israel’s government — he’s “Netanyahoo” as far as I am concerned — some of my co-religionists chide me for singling out Israel and exempting Putin’s Russia or Xi Jinping’s China from my complaints. My usual reply is that as a Jew I feel morally complicit in what Israel’s government does; I don’t feel that way about what Putin or Xi does.

Read More

Stay Up to Date

Here are your Weekly Primers on Voting Rights and Democracy and the Battle for Obamacare (Prime access). Take three minutes a week to read these Primers and you will always be up to date and know what to expect.

Yep, That $500 M from China to Trump Project Looks Like a Pretty Big Deal

You probably saw the news yesterday that just days before President Trump tweeted that he was intent on saving that sanctions-busting Chinese telecommunications company, China had agreed to loan $500 million to a major Trump-backed development in Indonesia. These kinds of situations are now basically commonplace in the Trump Era. But it is important to look at them from a macro- and a micro-perspective. The details are quite complex in the latter case. We are still digging into them. But I wanted to give you a first sense of what we’re finding, because they make Trump’s connection to the operation and potential profits look considerably tighter than what I’d been led to expect yesterday from early reports. Read More

‘Vision and Honor’: The Eric Greitens Myth Prime Badge
Trump Moonwalks Away From Pledge to Denuclearize North Korea

From the outset, there was little reason to think that North Korea would agree to surrender its nuclear weapons and the infrastructure and labs required to build them. If we set aside the never-very-plausible idea that the Kims are madmen intent on prepping some secular apocalyptic nuclear confrontation with the U.S., a more prosaic, rational strategy becomes clear: build a credible nuclear deterrent, thus making military-backed regime change unthinkable. Then reach an accommodation with the U.S. from a position of strength and fundamental equality. Such an agreement might involve restrictions on nuclear weapons development, limits on numbers of warheads. But fundamentally it would mean accepting North Korea as a nuclear power. Read More

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 16: Michael Cohen leaves Federal Court after his hearing on the FBI raid of his hotel room and office on April 16, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)
She’s a ‘Little Bit of a Victim Here’
on February 24, 2017 in National Harbor, Maryland.

The Schlapps are one of the great power couples of the Trump Era. She’s a top communications staffer at the White House — Mercedes Schlapp. He’s the head of CPAC and a major pro-Trump talking head on CNN — Matt Schlapp. Both are longtime lobbyists and DC power players. They made a stir for making a great show of walking out of the White House Correspondents Dinner early on their way to hit the after parties, allegedly as a splashy protest over “elites” at the dinner and comedian Michelle Wolf. The two apparently tweeted their outrage from a limo on the way to the NBC afterparty. “It’s why America hates the out of touch leftist media elite,” wrote Mercedes Schlapp.

Now the two have garnered attention as the most conspicuous defenders of Kelly Sadler, the White House staffer who reportedly joked about John McCain’s terminal illness. Read More

Trump Compared to Cyrus the Great

Fox Host Jeanine Pirro says Donald Trump fulfilled biblical prophecy by moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem.

Coming Up On An Important Benchmark

We are currently coming up on an important benchmark in our move to becoming majority subscription funded news organization. We are 197 short of 27,000 paid subscribers.

Wow, That’s Totally Right

TPM Reader DV wrote in this morning with what I have to say is a completely obvious point that totally eluded me. There are twenty different ways Michael Cohen’s apparent shakedown of various Fortune 500 companies is sleazy. There are a handful of ways it might break the law. But there’s another pretty big problem I at least haven’t seen explicitly mentioned. Read More

Good F’ing Grief

A lawyer has come forward who claims he spoke indirectly to Donald Trump (via an intermediary) and directly to Michael Cohen in 2013 about abuse allegations against former New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.