Editor’s Blog

That’s The Sound Of The Other Shoe Dropping

ABC reporting that Michael Cohen is preparing to cooperate with the feds …

Trump Says He Got Korea Idea from Putin

The list of these seems all but limitless.

From The Wall Street Journal, January 18, 2018. The reference to “around the same time” is summer 2017, just after President Trump met with Vladimir Putin in Hamburg at the G-20 Summit.

Around the same time, Mr. Trump had an idea about how to counter the nuclear threat posed by North Korea, which he got after speaking to Russian President Vladimir Putin : If the U.S. stopped joint military exercises with the South Koreans, it could help moderate Kim Jong Un’s behavior. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis used an approach that aides say can work: “He says, ‘Your instincts are absolutely correct,’ and then gets him [the president] to do the exact opposite of what his instincts say,” said one person close to the White House. Mr. Trump dropped the idea, although he has ordered aides to give the exercises a low profile, eliminating press releases and briefings about them.

Verdict on the Verdict

Very mixed opinions on today’s AT&T verdict. While the specifics are complex, this is another move toward allowing more monopolies in the US economy, especially in the information economy. Monopolies are already a big problem, especially in the digital and tech platforms.

But fundamentally I think this is a good decision because there is no question in my mind that this happened because President Trump wants to punish unfriendly press coverage. CNN has plenty of problems. It’s hard to call it ‘independent’. It’s part of a huge mega-corporation and it’s about to be folded into an even huger mega-corporation. But fundamentally this is about a lawless President using his presidential powers to exact an economic cost to criticizing him. That fact should trump the specifics of AT&T’s market power. In any foreseeable future, major media is controlled by big corporations. If the President can get away with exacting a big economic price for not following the Fox News line, we’ve lost a big part of the fight.

Very Curious

I’m very curious about this. I’m interested in hearing from anyone who knows more.

The BBC correspondent in Beijing and the BBC Bureau Chief for North America say that China (specifically, the government spokesman in a daily briefing) announced that the US had agreed to suspend military exercises with South Korea before President Trump announced it in his press conference. In other words, they knew in advance.

Based on only the latter’s account I wasn’t certain whether the timing was right – timezone differences and whatever other possible confusions. But Stephen McDonell’s account from Beijing seems pretty open and shut. It’s still possible there’s some misunderstanding here. But it seems unlikely. What’s going on here? Read More

What Did Trump Promise?

There’s a lot in this exchange with George Stephanopoulos (emphasis added)…

GS: What other kinds of security guarantees did you offer, did you put on the table?
Trump: Well, we’ve given him, I don’t wanna talk about it specifically, but we’ve given him, he’s going to be happy. His country does love him. His people, you see the fervor. They have a great fervor. They’re gonna put it together, and I think they’re going to end up with a very strong country, and a country which has people — that they’re so hard working, so industrious. I think if you look at South Korea, someday, maybe in the not too distant future, it will be something that.

Read More

This Is So Effing Weird

President Trump showed Kim Jong-un a fake movie trailer about their mutual greatness. The trailer begins: “Seven billion people inhabit planet Earth. Of those alive today, only a small number will leave a lasting impact. And only the very few will make decisions or take actions that renew their homeland and change the course of history.” President Trump went on to tell Kim about the opportunities for luxury real estate developments: “They have great beaches You see that whenever they are exploding the cannons in the ocean. “I said, ‘boy, look at that view. That would make a great condo. I explained it.’” Watch the faux-trailer here, along with denial from the guy who allegedly made it that he made it.

A Nothingburger in Our Time

We have a dramatic relaxation of tensions between the United States and North Korea. That is an unambiguously good thing. The summit yesterday was basically a photo op. I expected little and there was even less than I’d expected. The diplomatic communique was basically diplo-speak for “be excellent to each other” — a non-binding agreement to work towards “denuclearization” — while accepting that both sides define the term in dramatically different ways.

North Korea has made immense sacrifices to achieve a viable nuclear deterrent. Yesterday’s summit was more than anything else a testament to the power of that achievement.

Read More

BREAKING: Kudlow Suffers Heart Attack

Larry Kudlow, President Trump’s economic advisor, has reportedly suffered a heart attack and is at Walter Reed Medical Center. It’s been reported broadly. But all reports seem to work off the President’s tweet from roughly 10 minutes ago. There doesn’t seem to be any additional reporting on his condition or other details.

Interesting

Interesting information here. Reservations for ad runs show where the parties at least think the battle for control of Congress will be fought.

Bombshell Prime Badge
Same Same

Not to put too fine a point on it. But there’s every reason to expect the Russian role in the NRA’s 2016 efforts will turn out to have been the same as the Russian role supporting Brexit.

What To Expect in Singapore

As I’ve explained my thinking on the US-North Korea summit in a series of posts. Let me share a few more thoughts as we get underway. Read More

Taking Them To Get a Bath

“Aleman-Bendiks, the public defender, said several of her clients have told her their children were taken from them by Border Patrol agents who said they were going to give them a bath. As the hours passed, it dawned on the mothers the kids were not coming back. ‘It’s incredible,’ she said. ‘I just can’t believe what’s happening here.'”

From The Boston Globe.

The Plot Against America

I just noticed that the Times David Leonhardt has written a more elegant version of the argument I tried to make on Friday: If President Trump devised a plan to break up the Western alliance and advance the strategic interests of Russia, the plan would look pretty much like what we’re watching unfold in front of us. Why he’s doing this doesn’t really matter. That he’s doing it is the only thing that matters. And he is doing it. Read More

On Russian Information Warfare

If you’re hankering for an interesting discussing this Sunday afternoon, check out my conversation with Gen. Mike Hayden (former head of the NSA and CIA under Clinton and Bush). We talk about his intelligence career, what military intelligence officers do, information warfare and how Russia was field testing their information operations in 2014 and 2016, in advance of what they did in the 2016 campaign. In fact, as he explains, they’re continuing to amplify President Trump’s attacks on NFL players like Colin Kaepernick. Down to today. Fascinating conversation about these and other topics. Listen to it here in the latest episode of The Josh Marshall Podcast.

Crazy, Dangerous, Out of Control

Trump Trade Advisor Peter Navarro saying there’s a “special place in hell” for Justin Trudeau and claiming he stabbed President Trump in the back is understandably getting all the attention. But it’s worth listening to the rest of the tirade. Here’s part of it.

“President Trump did the courtesy to Justin Trudeau to travel up to Quebec for that summit. He had other things, bigger things on his plate in Singapore where you are now, Chris. He did him a favor, and he was even willing to sign that socialist communique, and what did Trudeau do? As soon as the plane took off from Canadian airspace Trudeau stuck our president in the back. That will not stand. And as far as this retaliation goes, the American press needs to do a much better job of what the Canadians are getting ready to do because it’s nothing short of an attack on our political system and it’s nothing short of Canada trying to raise its high protectionest barriers even higher on things like maple syrup and other goods.” Read More

A Photo for the Ages of Our Unfolding Disaster

In the aftermath of what can only be called the debacle of the G-7 Summit this photograph is rapidly taking on an iconic significance.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks to U.S. President Donald Trump during the second day of the G7 meeting in Charlevoix city of La Malbaie, Quebec, Canada, June 9, 2018. Bundesregierung/Jesco Denzel/Handout

(Click through to the full post to see a larger version of the photo or click the photo itself for a fullscreen version.) Read More

He Left a Mark

For your light summer day reading, Emmanuel Macron is still working, seemingly successfully, to overawe President Trump with muscular handshakes. Even to the point of leaving a mark. Pictures in order after the jump. Read More

Oops

Local TV interview in Chicago …

Mangiante Papadopoulos, 34, said her husband never acted in a way to collude with Russia to meddle with the election. “I have more ties to Russia than he does,” she stated during the I-Team interview.

Goudie: “What are your ties to Russia?

Mangiante Papadopoulos: “No, I was joking. I’ve been to Russia for work, I have visited Russia, I have a few friends in Russia, so I was joking saying I have more ties to Russia than George.”

Big

Manafort and his Russian fixer Konstantin Kilimnik hit with new indictments.

My Conversation with Gen. Michael Hayden

I had a fascinating conversation yesterday with Gen. Michael Hayden, who you likely remember as President Bush’s CIA Chief. He was NSA Director in the late Clinton administration, continued in that role under Bush. Bush later made him CIA Director and he served briefly in that role under Obama. As a top intelligence official through Bush’s two terms he was at the center of all the controversies about rendition, warrantless surveillance, drone attacks, etc. He now appears an ardent Never Trumper, though I don’t think he applies that term to himself. He has a new book out called The Assault on Intelligence. We talked about a number of issues, including what someone does in a career as an Air Force intelligence officer. But the one that interested me most was how the Russians honed their ‘information dominance’ strategies first in Russia and then in Eastern Europe and then in US pre to 2016, amplifying Ebola hysteria and playing a key role playing up the Jade Helm hysteria back in 2014, which TPMers will remember from our coverage. Listen to the conversation here.

We’ve Got a Problem. A Big Problem.
U.S. President Donald Trump departs the White House June 8, 2018 in Washington, DC. Trump is traveling to Canada to attend the G7 summit before heading to Singapore on Saturday for a planned U.S.-North Korea summit.

There are certain frameworks and situations in the law in which it does not matter why something happened, it simply matters that something has demonstrably happened, to establish the point, making the finding or act. I have thought for some time that we face a similar situation with the man who currently holds the U.S. Presidency. Over the course of 16+ months, President Trump has acted consistently and with some success to destabilize and break up the western alliance (both its formal manifestation in NATO) but also its less formal dimensions in trade and other partnerships. He has also worked consistently on really every front to advance the interests of Russia. Read More

Send Us Your Questions About The 2018 Election

We’re roughly halfway through primary season and we’re starting to get a sense of who the candidates in many key races will be. The midterms are just five months away. Have questions about how things are looking for the Democrats’ bid to win control of the House? Wondering which Senate races are most critical?

Our senior political correspondent Cameron Joseph has answers.

Send your election-related questions our way through email, or post them in the Hive. We’ll select one each week (more or less) for Cameron to respond to.