Editor’s Blog

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Like a Mobster

It’s hard to keep track of the outrages. But this is a good point. From our former federal public corruption prosecutor reader …

Trump and his Congressional allies seem to be getting a pass from the media on his refusal to cooperate with the Mueller investigation by sitting for an interview and/or testifying to the grand jury. It is easy to chalk this up to yet another outrage that, over time, fades in our memories and seems to become the new normal for the pundit class. Instead, the “will he or won’t he” question has become the classic Trumpian reality show cliffhanger that has set the media narrative around this issue. But let’s be really clear about one thing: it is still an outrage and must be described as such. The man is President of the United States, not a mob boss. This should not be a “will he or won’t he” question. The real question should be “why the hell won’t the President of the United States agree to an interview with federal law enforcement”?

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Facebook’s Potemkin Everything

This is funny. From Bloomberg

Two months ago, Facebook showed off a “War Room” that brought employees from different teams together to quickly spot and fix issues like misinformation during the U.S. midterm elections. At the time, the company said the War Room might be deployed for future elections. But it’s been disbanded. Facebook says it was never intended to be permanent, and the company is still assessing what is needed for future elections.

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Seth Moulton, head of the 16-signer-letter anti-Pelosi group, now wants to sue for terms from Leader Pelosi. But she apparently won’t take his calls. So he’s forced to go to The Washington Post’s Robert Costa to sue for terms. Actually, it’s now a 14 signer letter since two of Moulton’s fellow 16 – Reps. Higgins and Lynch – already bailed out while Moulton was still on the plane. Read More

Getting Seriously Sad

Flailing (though probably winning) candidate Cindy Hyde-Smith lauds “distant relative” Sen. Henry Hyde of Oklahoma, author of the Hyde Amendment.

The Danger of Trump’s Foreign Policy Corruption

With a highly dangerous situation unfolding between Russia and Ukraine over the weekend, it’s important to return to a basic point about President Trump and the danger he represents to the United States. This is as relevant to the crisis in relations with Saudi Arabia as it is with Russia and Ukraine. Read More

Dropping Like Flies

Another signer of the anti-Pelosi letter says he’ll vote for her after all.

Cindy Hyde-Smith Is Pretty Much Who You Thought

Here’s a really good article from the Jackson Free Press about Cindy Hyde-Smith, the appointed Republican US Senator now running for election in her own right against Democrat Mike Espy. It’s a more detailed and complex story than the way it’s been presented when aggregated in other publications. Hyde-Smith went to one of the notorious segregation academies set up in the deep south to escape desegregation in the public schools. She in turn sent her daughter to the descendent of one of those academies, which remains almost exclusively white. Hyde-Smith herself comes off in the story as mostly a cypher and a weather vane but one whose tendency and instincts have always been toward the worst aspects of the state’s racist past and present. Hyde-Smith was actually a Democrat until about a decade ago. It’s a good read.

Fire, Not Smoke
WASHINGTON - OCTOBER 14:  Aryo Pirouznia, coordinator of the Student Movement Coordination Committee for Democracy in Iran (SMCCDI), speaks during a news conference at the National Press Club October 14, 2004 in Washington, DC. Pirouznia said Hassan Nemazee, who has raised money for John Kerry's presidential campaign, filed a $10 million lawsuit in a Texas court charging the SMCCDI and Pirouznia with libeling him by suggesting he is a supporter of the Islamist regime in Iran. Pirouznia claims that the lawsuit s frivolous and has filed a counter suit. With him are his attorney Bob Jenevein (C) and author Jerome Corsi.   (Photo by Matthew Cavanaugh/Getty Images)

Jerome Corsi is a professional liar and a volatile one at that. But the Post is reporting that he is now in negotiations to plea agreement with Special Counsel Robert Mueller. If that’s true, if it happens, that will likely bring him significantly closer to Roger Stone (who I strongly suspect Mueller already has more than enough information on to indict). And that in turn should be a big step closer to unraveling what went on between the Trump campaign, Russia and Wikileaks. They’re all part of one big story.

Another Day of Being a Terrible President

As you recover from your holiday meal I wanted to show you some videos I clipped this morning. On live video, the President spoke to service members abroad sending Thanksgiving greetings – a pretty standard presidential tradition. But he’s in Florida without most of his usual minders.

Most of the press commentary was that he ‘went off script’. But that’s not it exactly. On a live call he pressed the people he was talking to on gratuitously political points, asked hem to agree with him on trade deals or keeping bad people out of the country or even his pet peeves about new military technology he clearly doesn’t understand. As usual, he pressed them to agree with various false or nonsensical points.

Here are a few examples. Read More

Rural Youth

TPM Reader MG shares a Thanksgiving experience …

We just finished a Thanksgiving dinner between my immediate family and some old family friends. The adults are sitting around the table sharing stories, and the three college students (my nephew, who is an undergraduate at a state university in Kentucky and the son of the other family, who’s an undergraduate at a fundamentalist Christian school outside Nashville) are sitting in the living room listening to YouTube videos peddling conspiracy theories about Walmart stores being converted into concentration camps. The videos are well-produced and uses real events as evidence but preys upon the ignorance of my nephew and the other young man about the true context of those events (for instance, the truck-full of migrants who died in a Walmart parking lot). Anyway, they eat this stuff up and are being radicalized. There’s nothing more to say: rural youths are being radicalized.

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope you’re having a great holiday. Eat well. Friend well. Family well.

This is Probably Done

Nancy Pelosi turning Rep. Marcia Fudge back to supporting her candidacy was a critical development. Having one of the sixteen letter signers switch to support likely means this challenge is effectively over.

He Didn’t Have To Do This

What’s especially notable about Chief Justice John Roberts’ rebuke of President Trump is that it seems to have come in the form of a statement from the Supreme Court after the Associated Press apparently asked for a response to Trump’s remarks. This wasn’t an off-the-cuff remark at some seminar or symposium.

Stop Bothering Me, Kid

Robert Mueller having none of George Papadopoulos reneging on plea deal and trying to avoid jail.

Matthew Whitaker, acting U.S. attorney general, attends the Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., on Friday, Nov. 16, 2018.(Photo by Cheriss May/NurPhoto)
Walking Around Money

Before Matt Whitaker was installed as Jeff Sessions chief of staff and minder at the Department of Justice he was making more than $900,000 as the “director” of a pro-Trump dark money group called FACT.

Candidate Demands Debate Be Held in Light Proof Velveteen Box

The trend of ridiculously bad appointed Southern senate incumbents continues and is entertaining in a hideous kind of way. Cindy Hyde-Smith is no Roy Moore. But coming off a feel good comment about lynching and ‘jokes’ about voter suppression she’s making a real run at it. She has now apparently demanded that there be no audience and no press at tonight’s sole debate in the Mississippi senate run off. It’s Mississippi, an extremely conservative state with extremely racialized voting. She’s definitely the favorite. But it does seem to be an actual race, with Roll Call just today moving it from Sold Republican to Likely Republican. Read More

Wild Even For Trump

Take a few moments to read this statement just out from the President, on Saudi Arabia. Read More

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Court Packing Pays

This get a bit technical. (It’s about SCOTUS intervention in the on-going Census case Tierney Sneed has been covering for TPM.) But it’s a good example of how GOP court packing seems to paying quick dividends in efforts to further entrench GOP power and undercount blue states with significant immigrant populations.

Just Leaving This Here

Why President Trump hasn’t visited troops in Afghanistan or Iraq, according to the Washington Post:

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‘He Was Indeed a Bit of a Douchebag’

A few TPM Readers were at Seth Moulton’s townhall last night in Amesbury, Massachusetts. TPM Reader MK went in unhappy with Moulton’s antics and wasn’t impressed with what he saw …

He was indeed a bit of a douchebag during the town hall.

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