Editor’s Blog

Looking Back At The Thomas Era

This comment doesn’t go to the core questions we’re wrestling with today with the Kavanaugh nomination – substantive, ideological or political. But it’s a fascinating glimpse at the big changes that have happened in the process over the last quarter century – and ones that could have a major impact over the coming weeks. I suspect the first President Bush may have been particularly responsive to Senators in the way that is described below. But broadly speaking this is a real change.

From TPM Reader JB, a GOP senate staffer at the time …

As the Kavanaugh confirmation process recalls certain aspects of Clarence Thomas’s during the first Bush administration, I thought I’d offer a recollection about the latter.

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You Never Win By Losing
on September 4, 2018 in Washington, DC.

I’ve gotten a lot of fascinating responses to my comments and question below about the political fallout of the Kavanaugh accusations, many raising dimensions of the question I hadn’t considered. This from TPM Reader PM comes closest to capturing my take both in the particular and as a general theory of politics … Read More

Let’s Discuss This
on September 5, 2018 in Washington, DC.

TPM Reader SC says the failure of the Kavanaugh nomination, if it happens, could end any Democratic hopes of taking the Senate and possibly do the same for the House. Here’s his take and then my thoughts afterwards …
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U.S. President Donald Trump introduces XXX as his nominee to the United States Supreme Court during an event in the East Room of the White House July 9, 2018 in Washington, DC. Pending confirmation by the U.S. Senate, XXX would succeed Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy, 81, who is retiring after 30 years of service on the high court.U.S. Circuit Judge Brett M. KavanaughU.S. Circuit Judge Thomas M. HardimanU.S. Circuit Judge Amy Coney BarrettU.S. Circuit Judge Raymond Kethledge
And Now for Something Completely Different: the Dollar Challenged
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin's signatures is seen on new dollar bills, Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017, at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Washington. The new Mnuchin-Carranza notes, which are a new series of 2017, 50-subject $1 notes, will be sent to the Federal Reserve to issue into circulation. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

While the country’s attention is riveted on Florence, Kavanaugh’s confirmation and Manafort’s plea deal, certain other developments around the world may in the end prove more significant. At a meeting earlier this month in Vladivostok, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping agreed to bypass the dollar and use their own currencies in commercial relations.

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Just 17!!!!

We’re on our way to 2,000 new Prime subscribers. Currently 17 Prime members short of 1,300. You can be one of the lucky 17, with all the glory that comes with it. Just click here and join us.


Here’s Sen. Collins a few hours ago talking to CNN about the Kavanaugh accusations.

They’ll Crawl Over Broken Glass for Kavanaugh
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 09: U.S. President Donald Trump introduces U.S. Circuit Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh as his nominee to the United States Supreme Court during an event in the East Room of the White House July 9, 2018 in Washington, DC. Pending confirmation by the U.S. Senate, Judge Kavanaugh would succeed Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy, 81, who is retiring after 30 years of service on the high court. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

I assume you’ve already read the article in The Washington Post in which the unnamed accuser of Brett Kavanaugh goes public with her account of what happened. I don’t have anything to add to the account or what it means. Those speak for themselves. I have more insight into the potential political fallout. A lawyer shepherding the nomination on behalf of the White House said this to Politico: “No way, not even a hint of it. If anything, it’s the opposite. If somebody can be brought down by accusations like this, then you, me, every man certainly should be worried. We can all be accused of something.” Read More

It Just Gets Worse

The head of FEMA not only refused to correct President Trump’s claims about Puerto Rico/Hurricane Maria deaths. He managed to blame some number of the deaths on spousal abuse.

Putin Critics Have Really Bad Luck

You may remember that during the World Cup – I’m not sure which game but late in the tournament – some Pussy Riot members rushed on to the field dressed as police officers and disrupted the match. One of them is now fighting for his life after being poisoned.

Need Your Attention

Does your last name start with P, R, S or T? If it does, and you haven’t signed up for Prime yet, can you make today the day you join us? No, there’s no magic reason tied to these four letters. And if your last name starts with one of the other 22 you can definitely sign up today too. But I was reminded yesterday of how much inertia, convenience and evolving mores among news producers and news consumers all play key roles in this process. Do you pay for news when it’s mainly been free online for the last 25 years or so?

So I thought I’d pick a few letters and for those folks make the case directly. Bringing a substantial number of you into the fold as paying subscribers is really, really important to the future of this site. It just takes a moment to sign up. It’s probably easier to do on the weekend since other matters aren’t as pressing. So if you’re a regular reader, if you’ve been thinking about signing up, I need you to take a moment right now – actually, this moment – and take out your wallet and click here and sign up. It really just takes a moment and it’s well worth it.

CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 21:  Paul Manafort speaks to Ivanka Trump,  daughter of Republican nominee Donald Trump at the Republican Convention, July 20, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Brooks Kraft/ Getty Images)
Inside The Room

TPM’s Caitlin MacNeal takes us inside the courtroom yesterday (sub req) as the dramatic, key moments unfolded.

Don’t Miss It

This piece got a bit lost in the drama of the Manafort plea deal this morning. But it’s a don’t miss: Allegra Kirkland looks at the White Supremacist Leader in Idaho running and anti-Semitic campaign robocalls across the country for this year’s midterm election.

This is Very Important

I had planned to write a lengthy post today about the second leg of our big, annual Prime sign-up drive. Now we have the Manafort plea deal breaking. tl;dr: It’s really important. If you’re a regular TPM Reader, please sign up for Prime. Cheap, awesome, important. Click here. It hugely important to the future of this site.

Maybe Nothing, But …

Here’s something that caught my eye in the new Kavanaugh controversy about an alleged sexual assault while he and the alleged victim were in High School in the 1980s. Kavanaugh went to an elite DC preparatory school, Georgetown Preparatory School, in Bethesda, Maryland. It was an all-boys school. So no female students. The New Yorker article says the alleged victim “attended a nearby high school.” Read More

He Wanted His Family to Be Safe

The two words “remain safe” in Manafort lawyer Kevin Downing’s comment on his client’s decision this morning says quite a lot. “He wanted to make sure that his family was able to remain safe and live a good life.”

Paulie Runs One Last Disinformation Op – Against Trump

Look here for the latest updates from our team at the courthouse and in DC and NY are publishing in real time about this morning’s events at the federal courthouse in DC. But let me note a side point, which is quite interesting. Paul Manafort’s team has been putting out disinformation about this deal for a couple weeks now. I don’t put this out as a criticism or not. It just is what it is. And frankly, in a purely pragmatic light, it made a lot of sense to do that. This had to be secret until the last possible moment, especially from the President. He needed the element of surprise. And he got it. Read More


There is a cooperation agreement.

Update: So just some detail here. We don’t know precisely what the scope of the cooperation is. We don’t know who he’s cooperating against. What we have here is that Andrew Weismann, in the court a short time ago, referred to the deal as a “cooperation agreement.” The hung jury charges from Virginia will be dropped, pending his cooperation.

Later Update: I got this wrong. I’m glad I did. But note that last night I wrote that if Manafort was going to cooperate it made sense that he would keep that fact under wraps until the very last moment. It appears that that is just what happened.


I’m still skeptical that this is a Manafort cooperation agreement. But there does seem like there’s more possibility of it than I sensed last night. If I’m reading these outlines correctly, this deal will leave the 69 year old Manafort with a combined sentence of 15 to 20 years in prison. That might as well be 100 years. We’ll know very soon. We’ll bring you the news as soon as we have it.

About Last Night

We had a slew of primaries in New York State last night. If you’re looking at a left-right, establishment versus progressives dichotomy it was sort of a mixed picture. Actual Democrats crushed something called the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC), a group of Democrats who until quite recently were keeping the state Senate in de facto Republican hands. That, along with other more deep-seated factors, have had the effect of taking a very blue state and giving it a fairly purple politics, something that affects not just New York but the country as a whole. (Big states like California being deeply Democratic and Texas being deeply Republican have an impact on the rest of the country.) At the same time, the state’s very establishment Democratic governor easily won renomination. The candidates he supported won the Lt. Governorship and Attorney General nominations too. So some are saying, well, it’s a mixed picture. But I would argue this is at least in part a misleading prism through which to these results and results around the country. It obscures a much clearer picture and set of trends. Read More

Done Deal

Late Update: It’s all but confirmed. The special counsel’s office just released a “Superseding Criminal Information” in the DC case. That is in all likelihood the abbreviated set of charges Manafort will agree to plead guilty to.  More soon …

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Tide Turning Against GOP

In the last dozen years we’ve seen at least two and arguably three wave elections, with two tied to a midterm election: 2006, 2008 and 2010. They have certain common characteristics, along with others from earlier decades. One is that key patterns generally take shape or come fully into view at the end of the summer. Whether this is because our media and political cycles our designed to kickstart after the Labor Day holiday, whether it’s the shift from summer or just a certain proximity to election day that creates a critical mass of focused attention in the voting electorate, I’m not sure. But we are currently seeing a pattern that looks a lot like these earlier cycles, with a congealing trend coming out of late August into the first days of September. Read More

The Fix Is In

We’ve discussed at various points all the ways that President Trump has signaled to Paul Manafort that a pardon is on offer is he just keeps his mouth shut. It’s even worse than we thought. Read More

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