The Trump State Department hired a contractor to attack US citizens on Twitter over Iran policy. And the contractor seems to have an oddly close relationship to a major pro-Iran war think tank.
I continue to believe, more strongly than you can imagine, that impeaching President Trump is silly and a waste of time. That’s not because I think the politics are bad, as people always seem to assume when you say you don’t support an immediate move toward impeachment. I simply think it doesn’t accomplish anything. So it really doesn’t matter what the politics are. The only real question to me is whether Democrats succeed in their real shot at ending Trump’s presidency, which is in November 2020. It’s an existential challenge for the whole country. Read More
The US Ambassador to the United Kingdom created a minor stir a few days ago when he said the NHS (the British national health care service) would be “on the table” in a trade negotiation between the US and the UK after Britain leaves the EU. President Trump just got asked about this and confirmed it. But it wasn’t clear that he knew what the NHS is.
lol. Not clear President Trump knows what the NHS (british nat health care service) is. pic.twitter.com/drbRw8pfR9
— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) June 4, 2019
Please don’t miss this report from Kate Riga about some disturbing events in the New York City area. We heard about this over the weekend. A notorious anti-Semite who we’ve somewhat awkwardly referred to as a ‘holocaust distorter’ was scheduled to speak at a number of Catholic churches in the greater New York area this week. We refer to Ewa Kurek as a ‘distorter’ because, in a twist, she does not so much deny the Holocaust happened as she claims the Jews were complicit in the Holocaust and even its organizers. Kurek is a bonafide credentialed historian. An April article in Tablet referred to her as “maybe the only legitimate Holocaust scholar to have become an alleged Holocaust revisionist or distorter during a later phase of her career.” Two of the events were canceled today after a group of concerned citizens wrote to the Bishop of Brooklyn asking him to cancel the events.
This is part of a larger story I touched on back in early April. Back then I wrote a series of posts about an anti-Semitic Polish nationalist rally in New York City. The focus was on a new US law aimed at restitution for Holocaust victims. It’s become a lightning rod for Polish nationalists both in Poland and the US, spawning protests which range from vaguely anti-Semitic to extremely anti-Semitic. Kurek’s tour is part of that same agitation. The whole upsurge is at one level triggered by this controversy. But watching it it’s clear it’s dredged up attitudes and hostilities that seem unbroken going back 70 or 80 years. Here’s Kate’s report.
Like the Beatles and the Rolling Stones more than half a century ago, the milk shaking craze has finally crossed the Atlantic. Rep. Matt Gaetz got milkshaked. It started a few weeks ago when Tommy Robinson got milkshaked in Warrington by a man named Danyaal Mahmud. Robinson is a UK version of what we call the alt-right in the US – all the same mix of anti-immigrants, white nationalist politics combined with various kinds of “free speech” preening. (His real name is actually Stephen Christopher Yaxley-Lennon.) It quickly expanded to other rightist figures like Nigel Farage and soon enough left wing activists were bringing either milkshakes to rallies to troll far right figures or even symbolic, effigy milkshakes like this woman below. Read More
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Have you been wondering why Robert Mueller was able to investigate President Trump for obstruction of justice, but not accuse him of any crime? TPM’s Josh Kovensky has you covered.
We just recorded a new episode of the podcast with Mike Isikoff and Dan Klaidman of Yahoo News and the Skullduggery podcast. (Should drop late this afternoon or early evening.) We mainly talked about the Russia probe, looking back to the second half of 2016, what was known then, how reporting on the dossier looks in retrospect. But we also talked about the recent faux-controversy with Rashida Tlaib because it was based on comments she made on their podcast. And we got some interesting backstory on how it unfolded and how and why it exploded as a story.
The best way to understand Bill Barr’s activities is that it is his current job to seed an ever-expanding catalog of pro-Trump conspiracies with the imprimatur of the Department of Justice. I don’t know how many civil servants Barr will purge, how selectively he’ll use declassified intelligence to damage political enemies or how much he’ll try to imprison the President’s political opponents. He clearly wants to do all these things and I’m certain he is actively working to do one and two. But to the extent he finds himself limited on those fronts, he accomplishes a lot just by this on-going lying on which there is little way for people to call him out.
President Trump says so many ridiculous things. But this one stood out to me this morning. He appears now to believe that to impeach him, the House would need not only to find a “crime”. They’d also have to find a “misdemeanor”. Remember “high crimes and misdemeanors”. Video after the jump.
In the drama yesterday, as Netanyahu struggled in vain to cobble together a government, there was a legitimately hilarious moment I want to share with you. As noted yesterday, in the final hours, Netanyahu was offering crazy deals to all sorts of people – most notably Labor MKs – if only he could get one more seat (for a total of 61 out of 120) for his government AND who would support legislation to make him immune from prosecution. The appeals to Labor MKs were the crucial sign that he was willing to bargain away virtually anything to get that last seat and immunity.
So while all this is happening, Hadash MK Ayman Odeh goes up to the speaker’s rostrum in the Knesset to epically troll Netanyahu.
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I confess I’m stunned. I’ve told you again and again that the iron law of 21st century Israeli politics is that Netanyahu always wins. The election he’s finally going to lose, the coalition he’s never going to hold together – fuggedaboutit, he always figures it out; he always threads the needle. Yet, only a couple hours ago, he finally didn’t. Netanyahu managed what seemed like a come from behind election victory on April 9th of this year. But he turned out not to be able to assemble a government. He got together 60 Knesset members. But he needed 61. He held out dissolving the Knesset and holding new elections as a doomsday cudgel to get everyone in line. But it didn’t work. Now the country will return to the second election in only a few months. It is the first time in Israeli history that an election has failed to produce a government.
Let me explain what happened.