Editor’s Blog

Buckle Up, Folks

TPM’s Tierney Sneed is at the DOJ for the press conference which is starting momentarily. There were hints that it was a new Mueller indictment to be announced. And it is. More soon.

We’ll have running updates in this post. Read More

The Real Grim Shady

Good explanation here of Wilbur Ross’s slimy stock trade hijinks (Prime access).

Oh

President Trump fumes over London’s “baby Trump” blimp, says it makes him feel “unwelcome.”

Heads Up Prime Badge
Today’s Agenda: July 13, 2018 Prime Badge
New Podcast Episode!

Learn some little-known TPM history and the inside logistics of covering the Paul Manafort trial as TPM Managing Editor David Kurtz joins us for a special episode of The Josh Marshall Podcast.

Don’t forget to spread the word and subscribe on iTunes or Google Play. It helps us spread the word and build audience.

Iron Jim Gets What He Wants Prime Badge
This Was a Remarkable Moment

Today’s Agenda: July 12, 2018 Prime Badge
Jordan’s Boss, The Head Coach, Admits He Knew
OXON HILL, MD, UNITED STATES - 2018/02/23: Representative Jim Jordan (R), Representative for Ohio's 4th congressional district, at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) sponsored by the American Conservative Union held at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in Oxon Hill. (Photo by Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

One of the curious dimensions of the evolving Jim Jordan story is that the defenses of Jordan often become close to indistinguishable from the accusations against him. The first instance was that interlude in Jordan’s interview with Fox News’s Bret Baier in which he switched from adamant denials to making a distinction between formal accusations and “conversations in a locker room.” When Baier asked what “locker room” talk he’d heard, Jordan shifted back and insisted he hadn’t heard any. Now there’s another instance of this, an admission that essentially demolishes Jordan’s denials. The head coach Jordan worked for, Russ Hellickson, admits he knew Dr. Strauss was acting inappropriately with wrestlers on his team and confronted him about it. Read More

Trump Proposes Turning Europe Into Armed Camp
on July 11, 2018 in Brussels, Belgium.

The Washington Post has just confirmed that in his quest to sow chaos and generally blow up NATO President Trump is now demanding that NATO raise its member state defense spending from a current goal of 2% (by 2024) of GDP to 4%. This is of course blathering nonsense. But I thought I’d try to put some numbers to this in any case. Read More

Former Jordan Staffer and Protege Had History of Harassment and Assault
OXON HILL, MD, UNITED STATES - 2018/02/23: Representative Jim Jordan (R), Representative for Ohio's 4th congressional district, at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) sponsored by the American Conservative Union held at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in Oxon Hill. (Photo by Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

In November 2017, a rising star in Republican politics, Wesley Goodman, was forced to resign from the Ohio State House seat he’d won the year before. A staunch family values Republican, the married Goodman had apparently had sex with a man in his State House office. When confronted about the incident by Ohio State House Speaker Clifford Roenberger, Goodman resigned. What quickly emerged was that Goodman lived a secret life as a gay man. But he also had a history of harassing behavior and at least one documented instance of sexual assault which remained secret even after it came to the attention of his de facto boss, Tony Perkins, President of the Council for National Policy.

Goodman was also a protege of and former senior staffer for Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH). Read More

Two Threads Of The Trump-Russia Probe Collide

Kate Riga explains how former RNC deputy finance chairman Elliot Broidy, a character in the Michael Cohen storyline, is now also part of the Michael Flynn storyline.

Read it here (Prime access)

Will Obamacare Help Deliver Dem Victories?

Republicans made a point of railing against the health care law in past elections. But this year, Democrats are hoping that the popularity of the law’s Medicaid expansion will win them voters. For the first time since the law was created, Alice Ollstein writes in her Weekly Primer on Obamacare, Democrats are spending more on ads about it than Republicans are.

This comes as the Trump administration continues to chip away at various aspects of the law, dealing the latest blow this past weekend when it cut off risk-adjustment payments.

Read our Weekly Primer (Prime access) on Obamacare →

Jim Jordan’s Slow Bleed
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 07:  U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) arrives at a House Republican Conference meeting June 7, 2018 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. House GOPs gathered for a conference meeting to discuss immigration.  (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Something is brewing on Capitol Hill that has an eerie resemblance to another set of events that happened just about 12 years ago as Washington hurtled toward the 2006 midterm election. In September 2006, ABC News first reported that Congressman Mark Foley (R-FL) had exchanged sexually explicit text messages with underage male congressional pages. Later it was reported that after turning 18 at least two pages had had sexual encounters with Foley. Foley resigned from Congress and entered an alcohol rehabilitation program on October 2nd. Later Foley revealed that he had himself been molested years earlier as a 13-year-old altar boy by a priest named Anthony Mercieca — claims Mercieca appeared to confirm in an interview with the Sarasota Herald-Tribune a week later. Read More

Today’s Agenda: July 11, 2018 Prime Badge
Good Work, Republicans

There’s a little gem packed away in this article from The Daily Beast on that GOP-only Senate delegation to Moscow. Apparently US diplomats who briefed the Senators told them that Russian officials are under the impression that only Democrats care about or are critical of Russian election meddling and incursions in Eastern Europe. Read More

Interesting and Welcome

As I mentioned over the weekend and as Alice Ollstein has been reporting, the Trump administration moved from its very lax standard for separating families to a very high bar for reuniting them. It not only wanted lots of proof that parents were parents but also that they were ‘fit’ parents. A judge in the case just told the administration to knock it off: just reunite the families and don’t create needless obstacles.

Under Pressure (music sounds)

After successfully petitioning to switch from his rural Virginia jail to Alexandria, Paul Manafort tells judge: never mind!

Back on His Feet!

Mike Flynn is still cooperating with the Mueller probe and awaiting sentencing. But life goes on and he just signed on with a new and quite shady foreign lobbying outfit run by a former Trump staffer who used to be lobbying for Qatar until a few weeks ago. They apparently dropped the Qatar gig when Elliott Broidy sued them claiming they helped hack his emails. Small world! Mike Jr., who was pushing the Seth Rich conspiracy theory as recently as yesterday, also gets a job.

Trump’s Kinda Criminals

I’ve been trying to find a reliable source with numbers of how many federal and state law enforcement officers were mobilized in the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupation and stand off. I think over time it must have been hundreds when you consider the FBI, Oregon State police and law enforcement personnel from numerous municipalities in Oregon. There’s plenty of numbers for what the whole thing cost – many millions of dollars. But I’m interested in the numbers of people. The Hammonds were going to jail for having committed repeated acts of arson. They were behind a stand off in which dozens or hundreds of law enforcement officers were repeatedly threatened with violence and toward the end had to very directly endanger their lives. To put it mildly, pardoning these men as upstanding symbols of American virtue shows a pretty clear indifference to law breaking and the safety of federal law enforcement agents if you’re a certain kind of person and if your crime is tied to right wing political extremism. If you know where I can find those numbers – the total number of law enforcement officers deployed – please drop me a line.

Trump’s Paymaster

Here’s a tweet from the US President, en route to Europe for the NATO summit.

This is a straight up lie. None NATO member states are behind on any payments to NATO. The entire NATO unified budget is under $2 billion. The US pays 21% of that total. I explain some of these details here. Read More

Worse And Worse For Rep. Jim Jordan

There’s now a ninth accuser for Rep. Jim Jordan. He says he told Jordan about a specific case of the now-deceased team doctor fondling his testicles. Jordan snickered and took no action. “I remember coming up and saying, ‘Strauss held my balls longer than normal.’ He just snickered.”

Open Season On The Feds

As outrageous as the Dinesh D’Souza pardon was, I’m not terribly concerned that there’s going to be a ramp up in middle-aged racist charlatans using their mistresses as straw donors in federal campaigns. But President Trump’s pardon of the militia types who inspired the Bundy militia standoff back in early 2016 really is like announcing open season on federal law enforcement. It will also dramatically increase an existing problem: which is that far-right, white militias in the West can commit acts of terrorism and violate federal law more or less with impunity. As I wrote at the time, the whole exercise amounted to a kind of white privilege performance art. President Trump really is instituting factional government. If you support Trump, he’ll have your back against the law.

Prez: They Brought It On Themselves!
U.S. president Donald Trump speaks to supporters during a campaign rally at Scheels Arena on June 27, 2018 in Fargo, North Dakota. President Trump held a campaign style "Make America Great Again" rally in Fargo, North Dakota with thousands in attendance.

President doubles down on family separation as deterrent (from pool) …

Q: Reaction to latest deadline missed on child reunions?

“Well, I have a solution. Tell people not to come to our country illegally. That’s the solution. Don’t come to our country illegally. Come like other people do. Come legally.

Read More

A Way Forward on the Eager Brett Kavanaugh

I’m skeptical that Democrats can defeat Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to serve as a Justice of the Supreme Court. But I’m not skeptical about trying. Kavanaugh has been a reliable ideologue and partisan for most of his Washington career. Since 2006 he’s served on the DC Court of Appeals as a Supreme Court nominee in waiting. Elite universities, Federalist Society, prestige clerkships, the 90s-era anti-Clinton DC cabal, top Bush aide, cue-up circuit court judge — if you were cooking up youngish Republican judicial ideologues for Supreme Court service it’s hard to see how they’d look any different than Brett Kavanaugh. This is why I had little doubt he’d eventually get the nod. President Trump outsources Supreme Court picks and the whole inertial force of the institutional Republican party exists to put guys like Brett Kavanaugh on the Court.

Here are a few things that we should start scrutinizing now. Read More

U.S. President Donald Trump, right, greets Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, left, prior his talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, center, during the G20 summit in Hamburg Germany, Friday July 7, 2017. (Mikhail Klimentyev, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
How Is NATO Funded? And Why is President Trump Trying to Destroy It?

As we move toward the NATO Summit and the Putin-Trump summit, I thought it made sense to review some of the details behind the President’s demands that NATO member countries pay up and stop doing what he regards as freeloading on the U.S. taxpayer’s dime. Most people have a general sense that Trump doesn’t seem to grasp how an alliance works, that it’s not meant to function as a protection racket. But the actual details are both sillier and more significant than it may seem on the surface. Read More