Editor’s Blog

A Very Bad Week for a Lawless President

Last week was a tremendously consequential week in the Trump/Russia investigation. This was so not simply because of the number of revelations but because each new revelation layered upon the previous one to confirm one overriding, consequential reality: a pattern and practice of obstruction of justice and abuse of office that didn’t end with the firing of James Comey on May 9 but continued right down to the present day, touching almost everyone in President Trump’s inner circle and beyond. Read More

Our Calendar for Jan. 29, 2018 Prime Badge
This Is A Very Big Difference

Buried deep in Ashley Parker et al.’s Saturday Post story on Trump and the Russia probe is this paragraph …

And that same month, Trump did, in fact, order McGahn to fire Mueller, a directive first reported Thursday by the New York Times. But McGahn told West Wing staff — though not the president — that he would quit before carrying out Trump’s directive, and the president ultimately backed down, people familiar with the events said.

Read More

This Sounds Just Right To Me

Former federal prosecutor shares a key point about June and July of last year when Trump’s staff was trying their best to keep Trump from destroying himself and the limits on Ty Cobb’s cooperation strategy. Give this a read. Very important perspective.

I wanted to share some thoughts on the President’s current legal strategy and the shift from Kasowitz to Cobb/Dowd, which I think is fascinating as you’ve discussed in your post this morning.

Read More

Key Point

Here’s one structural/political point to keep in mind about President Trump’s proposed “four pillars” immigration deal. We know from hard experience that almost no piece of immigration legislation on the 2006/2013 model can make its way through the House. Even though a clear majority would likely vote for some version of 2013-era “comprehensive immigration reform”, the right-wing faction in the GOP caucus simply won’t allow such a bill to get a vote. But it’s a very different matter for the House GOP right to pass its own preferred legislation. And that’s what Trump’s “four pillars” proposal amounts to, even with Dreamer protections thrown in – which they’re allegedly up in arms over. Point being, we’re talking about a minority of the House. A bunch of different reasons make it much easier to block something than to pass something.

Boom

And we have more. Trump tried to fire Mueller in June. But he backed down when his White House Counsel threatened to quit. Sometimes it just seems like this won’t go four years. More to come shortly …

Where’d You Get the Money

The NRA has responded five days late to the Russian money story with a non-denial denial from an “outside lawyer.”

About That Photo Prime Badge
We’re Not Focused On the Biggest Part of Trump’s Immigration Agenda
WASHINGTON, Jan. 10, 2018 -- U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a joint press conference with Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg (not seen) at the White House in Washington D.C., the United States, on Jan. 10, 2018. U.S. President Donald Trump said Wednesday that Washington could "conceivably" re-enter into the global Paris climate agreement, from which he announced the withdrawal last year. (Xinhua/Ting Shen)

Yesterday, on behalf of the President, Sarah Sanders released a statement outlining the “four pillars” of his immigration plan. Read More

“A Defense Lawyer’s Worst Nightmare”

From an ex-DOJ prosecutor whose insights I often seek, responding to a question I asked about this Prime Nugget item from yesterday.

Your layman’s sense is right: “this tells me that Mueller’s interest may not suggest he thinks these other events are indictable crimes in themselves. He may think they are evidence of a pattern which could strengthen a criminal case about the two earlier incidents we knew about – the Flynn request and Comey’s ouster.”

Read More

The Evolving Definition

The Times’ Maggie Haberman pressed Sarah Sanders today on how the President is defining “collusion” these days.

Read More

Guilt By Inference Prime Badge
You Need To Watch This

I’ve been watching rightwing media since the late 80s. I’ve been doing it professionally for two decades. Very little surprises me. But last night on a tip I checked out a series of segments on Fox claiming new evidence of a anti-Trump “secret society” at the FBI plotting to overthrow the Trump administration. Read More

Where The Burden Falls

From Alice Ollstein’s feature this morning, this little nugget. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) defended his support for Alex Azar to head up HHS (his Senate confirmation is expected today) in light of Azar’s comments on reproductive rights issues: “Trust me, I have enough faith that the good women who work at HHS can bring some common sense to him in his thought process.”  [emphasis mine]

Today’s Mueller Revelations Were The Biggest in Months

Over the course of today there was a rush of nugget-sized revelations about the Trump/Russia investigation. Overnight there was news that FBI Director Christopher Wray had threatened to resign. Then we learned that Jeff Sessions had sat for an extended interview with Robert Mueller’s investigators. A bit later we learned that James Comey was interviewed last year. None of these revelations was that big in itself. But there were enough of them (including others not mentioned here) that we put together a round up of these little pops of information just to help keep track. By the end of the day though the different nuggets began to fit together, not as a scattershot of discrete revelations but several parts of a unified whole. Read More

Follow the Money Prime Badge
A Favor

I have a quick favor to ask. It will take a minute or two tops. It’s very important for the site. For the next twenty-four hours we’re running our annual reader survey. If you could take a moment to fill it out I would appreciate it greatly. Again, it’s just a couple minutes and the information we get – all of which remains private and only collected in the aggregate – is key to keeping TPM thriving and moving forward. Just click here to start.

Keeping It Real

As I argued below, being in the minority is difficult. You have no power. Fights take a long time. The worst thing Democrats can do is fall into the old pattern of garment-rending and self-flagellation. But let’s look at a poll result just released about who gets the blame. It’s highly revealing on a number of levels. Read More

Meet Brandon Griesemer

Meet Brandon Griesemer, the 19 year old Michigan man who I referred to in the post below. He lives in suburban Detroit and made a series of calls to CNN headquarters in Atlanta threatening mass murder as payback for “fake news.” “Fake news. I’m coming to gun you all down. Fuck you, fuckin’ ni****rs.”

Here are the key passages from the FBI affidavit tied to his arrest. Read More

Stop Whining, Move Forward

It’s amazing how quickly conventional wisdom can congeal. It’s even more amazing when it plays to Democrats’ habit of garment-rending and self-flagellation. This morning I read this in the lede of The Washington Post‘s Daily 202.

Seven takeaways from the failed Democratic government shutdown: The Resistance will struggle when it tries to replicate the tactics of the tea party movement. The left learned with its failed shutdown gambit that it cannot beat President Trump by copying the same playbook that the right used against Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.

Read More

FBI Agents Arrest Man For Threaten Ambush of CNN Employees

Michigan man arrested for threatening to travel to Atlanta and commit a massacre of CNN employees for “fake news.” Read More

Devin Nunes Will Do Anything to Protect Donald Trump

We are on genuinely untrodden territory with a faction of House Republicans working to discredit federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies because they are investigating the President and finding damning information about him and his 2016 campaign. As you’ve likely heard, Rep. Devin Nunes, Chairman of the House intel committee had his staff write this “memo” which allegedly presents evidence of intelligence and law enforcement wrongdoing during the 2016 presidential campaign – basically “deep state” plotting against candidate Donald Trump. Read More

Scoopage

Here’s what we’re hearing from inside the Senate Democrats meeting on the Hill.

On The Verge Of A Deal

We’re not in the predicting biz, but the signals this morning on the Hill suggest we may be close to an end to the shutdown. Here’s the latest.

 

No Senate Deal On Shutdown Yet But May Be Closer

The Senate has adjourned for the night, pushing off the planned vote from 1 a.m. ET Monday until later in the day tomorrow. No deal has been announced, but the tone of Senate leaders tonight was muted, as if they were making space for a deal to come together. The deal, to be clear, still seems to be centered on resuming funding until Feb. 8, so not a long-term deal. Our latest report from the Hill.