Editor’s Blog

Point of Origination

If you find yourself wondering where the “truth isn’t truth” meme started …

An Absolute Must Read

Interested in voting rights? The ugly and comic history of right wing fables about “voter fraud”. Here’s Rick Perlstein and Livia Gershon on how the GOP has been weaponizing “voter fraud” myths for decades to target minority voting. It’s Part 2 of of 2018 series on Democracy and Voting Rights.

No Manafort Verdict This Week

Manafort jury asks to go home early today. Deliberations will continue the rest of this afternoon and resume Monday. Here’s the latest.

Latest From Manafort Trial

A new note from the jury in the Manafort trial. We’re waiting to hear more …

Reports of the new note came shortly after a hearing on news orgs’ request to unseal records in the case, including the names of jurors. Alice Ollstein reports.

We Know Trump Is Guilty. We’re Having a Hard Time Admitting It

The greatest conceit in public life today is the notion that we don’t already know President Trump is guilty. Guilty of what? Conspiring, by whatever level of directness, with a foreign power to win the Presidency and then continuing to cater to that foreign power either as payback for the assistance or out of fear of being exposed. In other words, collusion, a national betrayal that may break some statute laws but which far transcends them and isn’t in the past but is rather on-going. Read More

Trump Military Parade Canceled?

The Pentagon announcement: “We originally targeted November 10, 2018 for this event [the parade] but have now agreed to explore opportunities in 2019.”

On its face that’s a postponement. But exploring opportunities next year sounds vague to the point of possibly not even happening at all.

An Anxious Wait

One of Paul Manafort’s lawyers is anxiously pacing around a hotel lobby. The other is charging his phone. Reporters are sitting around the same hotel or circulating in and out of the courthouse. After a three-week-long period of daily action during Paul Manafort’s financial crimes trial, now the lawyers, reporters and spectators are stuck in Alexandria, Virginia, with nothing to do but wait as the jury deliberates. It could take hours, or it could take days. Read Caitlin MacNeal’s reporter’s notebook (Prime access) with the latest →

This Happened

The GOP nominee for Governor in California compares the Holocaust to long lines at the DMV. “You know, I met a Holocaust survivor in Long Beach. He survived concentration camps, and he said this was worse. He’s 90 years old and he had to wait four hours down in Long Beach. Can you imagine that?” Story here.

Yes, I Agree

From TPM Reader JO

Great job by Tierney and Caitlin covering the Manafort trial. Their dispatches were every bit as good as Wapo, and generally better than the NYTimes. In particular, they showed a great touch for identifying the evidence that illustrated the prosecution’s game plan of corroborating Manafort’s knowledge and complicity with a thousand small lies and deceptions. Many news orgs just focused on the “drama” of provacative questions. Tierney and Caitlin recogized the broader patterns.

It would be truly shocking if Manafort is not convicted of many if not most counts. Of course, juries do crazy things, so we know until we know.

Again, fabulous job by the team.

Let’s Call It What It Is

Trump blacklists Brennan.

Trumpian Cognition and the Specter of the Russia Probe

When I wrote this post about Trump’s pre-Twitter, 2011-12 video blog I went back and watched a decent number of the mini-episodes. One of the things I watch for in watching these – just can’t help it – is his verbal focus and precision. (Here’s the video series I’m talking about.) Watch video of Trump from twenty years ago and it’s very, very different from the guy you see now. There was some of this in these videos from less than a decade ago. But there was something else that I noticed, something that took me a while to quite put my finger on because it’s the absence of something. Read More

Manafort’s Lawyers Make Their Case

We haven’t heard much from the defense during Paul Manafort’s financial crimes trial. Manafort’s lawyers didn’t call any witnesses or present any evidence. Now it’s time for them to make their closing argument. This is when we’ll finally get a sense of their theory of the case, such as it is. Tierney Sneed and Caitlin MacNeal are reporting from the court house. Stay tuned.

High Trust, High Fear: Inside the Dystopian Hellhole of Trumpism

Yesterday we decided to dig deeper into this matter of Trump White House NDAs. Kellyanne Conway said they all sign them in the Trump White House. Then President Trump confirmed the existence of NDAs for White House employees in one of his broadsides against renegade ex-employee Omarosa Manigault-Newman. I want to first discuss the NDAs and then some broader lessons we can draw about Trumpism from this latest turmoil. In this storm of back-biting, intrigue and betrayal we see in microcosm the world system on which Trump wants to build US relations with the rest of the world. But first, let’s discuss the NDAs. Read More

Trump Going the Stormy/Arbitration Route

Trump and the Trump campaign are using the NDA arbitration path that worked so well with Stormy Daniels with Omarosa.

Nemeses: The Rise of the Trumping Anti-Trumps

Evolutionary biology is dragooned into the political culture these days for all sorts of bad ends. But if we’re candid with ourselves we will grant that one place where it provides a highly instructive analog is in explaining how Trump intrusion into the political ecosystem has created a niche opening for operators like Michael Avenatti and Omarosa Manigault-Newman. Read More

attends the 2018 White House Correspondents' Dinner at Washington Hilton on April 28, 2018 in Washington, DC.
The Archeology of Trumpism

Over what are now the years since Donald Trump entered, took over and now totally permeates American political culture, I now and again think back to something that happened years ago, long before his presidential campaign. Starting in 2011 Trump started posting these video blog or ‘vlog’ videos to Youtube. They were called “From the Desk of Donald Trump”. They ran on the Trump Organization video channel. What settles in my memory is that at some point I started watching them and was chatting with a TPM colleague about them. They had a certain Dr. Evil-ish feel to them – or maybe one of the video messages from Blofeld, the Bond series villain on whom Dr. Evil is based. Trump has always been a comic book-like figure, whether you like him or not. That’s part of the brand, bold and over-the-top. Like a character from a Batman comic, there he is in his iconic headquarters, Trump Tower, sending out his videos messages: some new promise, threat, or angle. Read More

The Big Picture

With the news that former FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok was fired Friday, reportedly overruling the official recommendation that he be disciplined with a demotion and 60 day suspension, lets review the clarifying big picture. At the time two years ago when the FBI began investigating a far-flung foreign conspiracy to throw the 2016 presidential election in Donald Trump’s favor, James Comey was Director of the FBI; Andrew McCabe was 2nd in command and Peter Strzok was Chief of the Bureau’s Counterespionage Section. There was ample suspicion then and ample evidence now that candidate Trump’s associates were deeply involved in the conspiracy. Comey, McCabe and Strzok have now each been fired. The President has threatened each with prosecution.

What’s That About?

In all the brouhaha about Omarosa, her drama, her accusations, her furtive recording, I haven’t seen a good (or really any) explanation of this: Why did John Kelly take her to the Situation Room to fire her? Read More

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