Editor’s Blog

My Precious

This is a fascinating dimension of the story of the 2016 campaign. How the right’s obsessions with Hillary’s emails led them to Wikileaks.

Soft on Crime

It’s easy to lose track of President Trump’s various instances of criminal behavior. Because there’s so much of it. But when he says about a possible pardon for Paul Manafort “Why would I take it off table?” he says clearly that he sees it as a tool to defend himself against the Mueller probe. And that’s a high crime in and of itself. He doesn’t have to issue the pardon to use it as such a tool.

‘Freakishly Unusual’

Manafort maintaining JDA with Trump while ostensibly cooperating with Mueller was “freakishly unusual,” Tierney Sneed reports for Prime subscribers.

Five Years Ago Today

Five years ago today our top story at TPM was “A Realist’s Take on Obamacare” by … well, by me. Second was “Republicans More Offended By Vatican Embassy ‘Closure’ Than the Vatican” by Tom Kludt.

We Need a Debrief, Andrew

New York’s newly-reelected quasi-permanent governor Andrew Cuomo sits down for lunch with President Trump this afternoon. I’m not really a critic of Cuomo. I voted for him. But given that it’s President Trump, and given that New York State is the locus of Trump’s greatest legal jeopardy after the Special Counsel’s office, it’s almost certainly the case that Trump will ask Cuomo to intervene to protect him from New York-based investigations.

Those investigations aren’t really under the Governor’s control. But that hardly matters to President Trump. If you’re going sit down with President Trump, you need to expect this and you need to share that information with your constituents.

Are We Flying Blind? Prime Badge
Probably Not a Blowout

We’ve got a smattering of results in now out of Mississippi. Way to soon to know much. But it at least doesn’t seem like a Hyde-Smith blow-out. She clearly seems to be underperforming in some key counties. But remember, she has LOTS of room to underperform. For the best moment by moment analysis of the county breakdowns, I recommend the Twitter list of number crunchers I follow. You can see it here. Actual results data here.

9:04 PM: Later numbers are starting to look more solid for Hyde-Smith. But they still point to a pretty competitive race.

Results

Mississippi run-off election results here.

Here Might Be Our Clue Prime Badge
What’s Going On Here? Prime Badge
Like a Mobster

It’s hard to keep track of the outrages. But this is a good point. From our former federal public corruption prosecutor reader …

Trump and his Congressional allies seem to be getting a pass from the media on his refusal to cooperate with the Mueller investigation by sitting for an interview and/or testifying to the grand jury. It is easy to chalk this up to yet another outrage that, over time, fades in our memories and seems to become the new normal for the pundit class. Instead, the “will he or won’t he” question has become the classic Trumpian reality show cliffhanger that has set the media narrative around this issue. But let’s be really clear about one thing: it is still an outrage and must be described as such. The man is President of the United States, not a mob boss. This should not be a “will he or won’t he” question. The real question should be “why the hell won’t the President of the United States agree to an interview with federal law enforcement”?

Read More

Facebook’s Potemkin Everything

This is funny. From Bloomberg

Two months ago, Facebook showed off a “War Room” that brought employees from different teams together to quickly spot and fix issues like misinformation during the U.S. midterm elections. At the time, the company said the War Room might be deployed for future elections. But it’s been disbanded. Facebook says it was never intended to be permanent, and the company is still assessing what is needed for future elections.

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Sad!

Seth Moulton, head of the 16-signer-letter anti-Pelosi group, now wants to sue for terms from Leader Pelosi. But she apparently won’t take his calls. So he’s forced to go to The Washington Post’s Robert Costa to sue for terms. Actually, it’s now a 14 signer letter since two of Moulton’s fellow 16 – Reps. Higgins and Lynch – already bailed out while Moulton was still on the plane. Read More

Getting Seriously Sad

Flailing (though probably winning) candidate Cindy Hyde-Smith lauds “distant relative” Sen. Henry Hyde of Oklahoma, author of the Hyde Amendment.

The Danger of Trump’s Foreign Policy Corruption

With a highly dangerous situation unfolding between Russia and Ukraine over the weekend, it’s important to return to a basic point about President Trump and the danger he represents to the United States. This is as relevant to the crisis in relations with Saudi Arabia as it is with Russia and Ukraine. Read More

Dropping Like Flies

Another signer of the anti-Pelosi letter says he’ll vote for her after all.

Cindy Hyde-Smith Is Pretty Much Who You Thought

Here’s a really good article from the Jackson Free Press about Cindy Hyde-Smith, the appointed Republican US Senator now running for election in her own right against Democrat Mike Espy. It’s a more detailed and complex story than the way it’s been presented when aggregated in other publications. Hyde-Smith went to one of the notorious segregation academies set up in the deep south to escape desegregation in the public schools. She in turn sent her daughter to the descendent of one of those academies, which remains almost exclusively white. Hyde-Smith herself comes off in the story as mostly a cypher and a weather vane but one whose tendency and instincts have always been toward the worst aspects of the state’s racist past and present. Hyde-Smith was actually a Democrat until about a decade ago. It’s a good read.

Fire, Not Smoke
WASHINGTON - OCTOBER 14:  Aryo Pirouznia, coordinator of the Student Movement Coordination Committee for Democracy in Iran (SMCCDI), speaks during a news conference at the National Press Club October 14, 2004 in Washington, DC. Pirouznia said Hassan Nemazee, who has raised money for John Kerry's presidential campaign, filed a $10 million lawsuit in a Texas court charging the SMCCDI and Pirouznia with libeling him by suggesting he is a supporter of the Islamist regime in Iran. Pirouznia claims that the lawsuit s frivolous and has filed a counter suit. With him are his attorney Bob Jenevein (C) and author Jerome Corsi.   (Photo by Matthew Cavanaugh/Getty Images)

Jerome Corsi is a professional liar and a volatile one at that. But the Post is reporting that he is now in negotiations to plea agreement with Special Counsel Robert Mueller. If that’s true, if it happens, that will likely bring him significantly closer to Roger Stone (who I strongly suspect Mueller already has more than enough information on to indict). And that in turn should be a big step closer to unraveling what went on between the Trump campaign, Russia and Wikileaks. They’re all part of one big story.

Another Day of Being a Terrible President

As you recover from your holiday meal I wanted to show you some videos I clipped this morning. On live video, the President spoke to service members abroad sending Thanksgiving greetings – a pretty standard presidential tradition. But he’s in Florida without most of his usual minders.

Most of the press commentary was that he ‘went off script’. But that’s not it exactly. On a live call he pressed the people he was talking to on gratuitously political points, asked hem to agree with him on trade deals or keeping bad people out of the country or even his pet peeves about new military technology he clearly doesn’t understand. As usual, he pressed them to agree with various false or nonsensical points.

Here are a few examples. Read More

Rural Youth

TPM Reader MG shares a Thanksgiving experience …

We just finished a Thanksgiving dinner between my immediate family and some old family friends. The adults are sitting around the table sharing stories, and the three college students (my nephew, who is an undergraduate at a state university in Kentucky and the son of the other family, who’s an undergraduate at a fundamentalist Christian school outside Nashville) are sitting in the living room listening to YouTube videos peddling conspiracy theories about Walmart stores being converted into concentration camps. The videos are well-produced and uses real events as evidence but preys upon the ignorance of my nephew and the other young man about the true context of those events (for instance, the truck-full of migrants who died in a Walmart parking lot). Anyway, they eat this stuff up and are being radicalized. There’s nothing more to say: rural youths are being radicalized.

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope you’re having a great holiday. Eat well. Friend well. Family well.

This is Probably Done

Nancy Pelosi turning Rep. Marcia Fudge back to supporting her candidacy was a critical development. Having one of the sixteen letter signers switch to support likely means this challenge is effectively over.

He Didn’t Have To Do This

What’s especially notable about Chief Justice John Roberts’ rebuke of President Trump is that it seems to have come in the form of a statement from the Supreme Court after the Associated Press apparently asked for a response to Trump’s remarks. This wasn’t an off-the-cuff remark at some seminar or symposium.

Stop Bothering Me, Kid

Robert Mueller having none of George Papadopoulos reneging on plea deal and trying to avoid jail.

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