Editors’ Blog

It Just Got Weirder, Folks. A Lot Weirder.

The House released a bundle of new Parnas documents this evening. I’ve been working my way through them at home. The most interesting to me are copies of exchanges between Robert Hyde — the landscaper from Connecticut — and an unidentified man in Belgium, or at least texting from a Belgian country code cell number.

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Another Piece of the Puzzle, Folks

It all goes back to Manafort. Josh Kovensky has the story.

Trump’s Legal ‘Dream Team’

President Trump’s decision to put Ken Starr, Alan Dershowitz and Robert Ray on his impeachment defense team is a good illustration of Trump’s mindset and strategy and the very different approach of Mitch McConnell.

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The Circus Is Coming To Town

TPM Reader SL brings the heat:

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Parnas Before Rudy

There’s an interesting catch here from Marcy Wheeler. I’m not sure I entirely agree with her on what it means. But I think she’s on to something. It has to do with Lev Parnas’ explanation of his efforts to get U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch fired. It’s a bit in the weeds but a pretty big deal.

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Where Things Stand: Even Trump’s Impeachment Team Is Reminiscent Of The Clinton Era
This is your TPM mid-morning briefing.
on September 18, 2018 in Washington, DC.

The Republican majority in the Senate has maintained for weeks that it wants to conduct impeachment proceedings following the precedent set by the impeachment of former President Bill Clinton. Now President Trump’s legal team appears to be following suit. Multiple outlets are reporting this morning that Trump’s team will include Ken Starr, the independent counsel who led the investigation into Clinton, and Robert Ray, who eventually took over the probe. Here’s more on that and other stories we’re following.

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‘Three Way Attorney Client Privilege’

There’s a lot of big new information in the various documents given to Congress by Lev Parnas. His interview with Rachel Maddow is a little fuzzier. There’s at least a lot there that seems spun to the hopes of his current audience, which is largely people opposed to Donald Trump. This is hardly surprising. Parnas appears to be a conman, basically. He’s trying to save himself. So we should be cautious about any claims not backed by corroborating evidence, of which there is quite a lot. But here’s one passage worth watching in the second part of his interview that aired tonight on Maddow’s show.

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What It Looks Like Inside The Senate

On Thursday, the full Senate got its first taste of what the next several weeks of their lives are going to look like.

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Where Things Stand: Parnas Lights A Match
This is your TPM mid-morning briefing.
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 02: Lev Parnas walks into the Southern District of New York Courthouse on December 2, 2019 in New York City. A business associate of President Donald Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, Parnas has been accused of conspiring to make illegal contributions to political committees supporting President Donald Trump and other Republicans, and wanting to use the donations to lobby U.S. politicians to support the removal of the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine. (Photo by Scott Heins/Getty Images)

In the last 24 hours, Lev Parnas, the indicted pal of Rudy Giuliani, made waves with the release of evidence he’s provided the House Intelligence Committee and explosive claims he made during two cable news hits on Wednesday evening. Among many, many other things, Parnas’ latest remarks place President Trump and his top officials directly in the center of the effort to get Ukraine to probe the Biden family. Here’s more on that and other stories we’re following.

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Kovensky on Chris Hayes

Josh Kovensky went on the Chris Hayes show to talk about some key revelations from the latest Parnas docs …

Sneak Peek

Lev Parnas dumps the Ukraine scandal right in Trump’s lap in his first interview about the Ukraine scandal.

On To The Senate And Its New Press Restrictions

Wednesday felt like a calm before an impeachment storm on the Senate side of the U.S. Capitol.

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What’s Parnas’s Angle Here?

Lev Parnas is apparently going to appear on Maddow tonight. So we’ll hear a bit more about him and how he’s presenting himself. Maybe he’ll break substantive new news. One fascinating question though is just what his angle is in all this.

You’re probably saying, “well to stay out of jail obviously!” And yes, 100%. He’s definitely trying to save himself. But just how isn’t completely clear, at least not to me. Let’s walk through this.

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WTF is the Deal With Robert Hyde?

I’m trying to get a handle on this question myself. But the big question from last night’s Parnas documents is just what the story is with Robert Hyde, landscaper, absolute biggest Donald Trump fan ever and longshot candidate for Congress who had already been disowned by much of the Connecticut GOP back in December. Was he really involved with surveilling and perhaps considering harming the US Ambassador to Ukraine or is he all talk or perhaps literally crazy? Here’s Josh Kovensky’s write up of what we know so far.

It seems like a stretch to think Hyde’s claims were totally made up. But a month or so after the text exchanges in question Hyde was taken into custody at Trump’s Doral resort in Florida and apparently involuntarily committed for roughly a week to a psychiatric facility after telling police he feared someone was trying to assassinate him.

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Does CNN Have It In For Bernie Sanders?

I am not a big fan of cable media — the only TV news I watch regularly is the PBS NewsHour, which attempts to base its statements on actual reporting and tries to present both sides of issues and let me decide. What struck me at last night’s debate was the blatant hostility of CNN to Senator Bernie Sanders. Here’s how their reporter framed the question to Sanders about Warren’s claim (which she alone is in a position to make since they were the only two people in the room): Read More

Where Things Stand: We’ll Know Impeachment Managers Shortly
This is your TPM mid-morning briefing.

Happy Wednesday, January 15. At 10 a.m. ET House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will announce who she’s chosen as impeachment managers, just ahead of a House vote this afternoon to send the articles to the Senate. Here’s more on that and other stories we’re following.

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The Parnas Docs

Let me share some very preliminary thoughts on the documents and text messages released by the House Intelligence committee from Lev Parnas.

I stress preliminary. I’ve gone through them once. In Josh Kovensky‘s and Matt Shuham’s write up they caught a number of references, the import of which wasn’t clear to me until I understood the full context.

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Debate Thoughts Blogging

10:23 p.m.: Warren has dominated this debate so far. That seems unquestionable to me. But winning on points doesn’t always translate into the race itself. Biden has also had a good night simply because no one is really attacking him and he’s making the points he wants to make. He’s ahead. Maybe not in Iowa but nationwide. So in terms of the race itself I think this debate is going well for both of them.

10:08 p.m.: Do not miss my colleagues’ debate live blog which apparently I can’t join.

10:02 p.m.: The debate about the Warren-Sanders conversation was messy. Warren’s comments were similar to her press release: state quickly and unequivocally that Sanders did say it (and by implication is lying) and then quickly pivot to other general comments. Sanders’ answers were weird in large part because he sort of tried to change what was being discussed. That seemed shifty. On balance Warren got the better part of the exchange. But I think it could have gone a lot worse for Sanders. Warren closed the discussion with this which was very strong.

9:24 p.m.: There were some decent answers on the foreign policy discussion. But Blitzer framed it in a very confusing and misleading way. Combat troops? Does that mean the U.S. Navy in the Gulf? Qatar, Bahrain? By framing it around Iran’s demand for a U.S. withdrawal from the Middle East he had people answering whether they supported something like the British withdrawal in like 1971. That’s not what any of these candidates are talking about with the possible exception of Sanders. And I don’t think he really is either.

9:13 p.m.: Warren’s answer was the best on the foreign and defense policy questions so far tonight.

BREAKING
on July 10, 2018 in Washington, DC.

A week before his scheduled sentencing, former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn is seeking to withdraw his guilty plea.

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Catch Up On The Sanders-Warren Feud Here

Before tonight’s debate, give our latest podcast a listen. We dig into the growing feud between Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. After that, we look ahead to the impending impeachment trial. Listen here, or on your preferred podcast platform.

It Was Always About Supporting Trump

One of the truisms of the last three years — most often spoken by Democrats — is that everyone has an interest in preventing future Russian interventions in U.S. elections because next time it could be Republicans who are the target rather than Democrats. Alas, this was false, is false and for the foreseeable future will continue to be false.

We should know this, and if you didn’t know it yesterday’s news that Russian intelligence operatives have been hacking into servers in Ukraine as part of President Trump’s impeachment defense should clarify the matter. Josh Kovensky has more details here. But the gist is that in early November, just as the impeachment effort began to build steam, GRU operatives began hacking into various subsidiaries of Burisma Holdings, apparently looking for emails or other documents that could embarrass the Bidens or otherwise assist President Trump’s impeachment defense.

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Yeah

The weird thing when a Trump advisor totally is making sense: “The President is never going to have [Giuliani] in the Senate trial, starting with the problem that he’s a potential witness.”

‘Monday is Going to Be a Bad Day’

Read about Rod Rosenstein’s heads up to Jeff Sessions about the raids on Michael Cohen’s homes and workplace.

Not Again!
on January 19, 2018 in Washington, DC.

Did we learn anything from 2016?

From the reactions to a report that Russian government-affiliated hackers targeted a Ukrainian gas company at the center of conspiracy theories around Vice President Joe Biden, apparently not.

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The Moment Is At Hand

We’re getting word now that Speaker Pelosi is telling her members to expect a vote Wednesday on sending the articles of impeachment to the Senate. Tierney Sneed is outside the House Democratic caucus meeting on the Hill, we will have her report shortly.

Where Things Stand: Will The Progressive Pact Fray?
This is your TPM mid-morning briefing

Happy Tuesday, January 14. In the last two days, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) took some shots at her longtime Senate ally Bernie Sanders (I-VT), accusing the Vermont senator of directing his volunteers to “trash” her and confirming he once told her a woman could not win the Democratic nomination. The Sanders campaign has vehemently denied the allegations. Is this a sign of a broader rift between the two comrades or just the ebb and flow of a Democratic primary? Here’s more on that and other stories we’re following:

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Keep An Eye on This

I remain skeptical. But CBS is reporting that the White House believes there’s a good chance they won’t be able to stem Senate GOP defections on allowing witnesses in the President’s impeachment trial.

Boom

I kept hearing how Elizabeth Warren was refusing to go negative in kind with Bernie Sanders. But I think she just dropped a neutron bomb directly on Bernie’s head.

And to be clear, “going negative” isn’t a bad thing if you are discussing relevant facts.

Contingency and Ancient Migration Out of Africa

There is a robust scientific consensus that all human populations outside of Africa descend from migrations of homo sapiens out of Africa that took place between 50,000 and 70,000 years ago. Before that, in Europe for instance, neanderthals were the dominant human or hominid population outside of Africa. But last year scientists performed a series of skeletal morphology and dating tests which appear to change the story dramatically.

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