Editors’ Blog

Our President

I know this is the first thing we learned about Trump. It’s obvious, ingrained, just basic to his whole personality. But it is still remarkable the degree to which at least half of Trump’s emotional life seems based on anger at close advisors and associates who are unable to clean up his messes to his own standards and satisfaction. Sometimes perhaps a staffer is hapless. But in virtually every case it is simply that his own actions make clean ups close to impossible. It is just a remarkable, beyond-caricature example of absent self-awareness, entitlement and, yes, narcissism.

Mick Mulvaney holds up his hand as he speaks during a news conference after his first day as acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in Washington, Monday, Nov. 27, 2017. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Today’s Agenda: Mulvaney In Hot Water Prime Badge
Downfall #1

One quick observation. We’ve now seen President Trump green light a Turkish invasion of northeastern Syria and then (perhaps?) try to undo it after it was too late to undo it. He decided to feather his own nest by hosting the G-7 at his Doral golf resort (a guaranteed political firestorm) before reversing course after roughly 48 hours. It is probably fair to say that both – though especially the first – have garnered Trump more criticism from Republicans than the Ukraine extortion plot that is all but certain to get him impeached. This all fits a pattern: under threat over probable impeachment and at least conceivable removal from office Trump is lashing out right and left in efforts to demonstrate power and dominance and succeeding mainly in further eroding his political support.

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The Big Dirty

And there it is, the other quid pro quo. Notorious Ukrainian oligarch Dmitry Firtash would help Rudy and DiGenova and Toensing cook up dirt on Joe Biden. In return, they’d work with Trump to get US corruption charges against Firtash tossed. Firtash has been fighting extradition to the US on federal corruption charges since 2014.

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MANCHESTER, NH - AUGUST 3: (L to R) Republican presidential candidates former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Dr. Ben Carson, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former CEO Hewlett-Packard Carly Fiorina, U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (SC), Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, former New York Gov. George Pataki, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum (PA), Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker stand on the stage prior to the Voters First Presidential Forum at Saint Anselm College August 3, 2015 in Manchester, New Hampshire. The forum was organized in response to the Fox News debate later this week that will limit the candidates to the top 10 Republicans based on nationwide polls. (Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Jeb Bush;Ben Carson;Carly Fiorina;Rick Perry;Rick Santorum;Lindsay Graham;Chris Christie;John Kasich;Bobby Jindal;George Pataki;Scott Walker
Today’s Agenda: Perry Is Jumping Ship Prime Badge
How Did Trump Let This Happen? Prime Badge
Very Important to Unpack This

Among many other things, in his just concluded remarks, White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney slightly shifted the White House explanation. He said one reason for the hold up of weapons aid to Ukraine was about the “corruption related to the DNC server.” This needs to be unpacked.

It is just a shard of information. But it is a reference to the Seth Rich/DNC Server conspiracy theory which holds the following … Read More

Pelosi Explains What Happened

While it’s pretty obvious that President Trump is the one who flipped out in yesterday’s meeting in White House, it’s still true that every narrator will have their own point of view and own slant to their description. But Democrats in the meeting who have spoken to the press suggest that it was pressing Trump on “all roads lead to Putin” that pushed Trump over the edge. Here’s Pelosi’s explanation of what lead to the ‘meltdown’.

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New Podcast Episode

New episode of The Josh Marshall Podcast is out. We discuss the latest Trump/Ukraine investigation developments and try to make sense of the Dems’ marathon twelve-person on one stage debate. Listen here or it should be on your device if you signed up.

Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, speaks at a National Press Club Headliners luncheon in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, August 7, 2019.  (Photo by Cheriss May/NurPhoto)
Elijah Cummings, 1951-2019

The 68-year-old Maryland Democrat who chaired the House Committee on Oversight and Reform died Thursday.

His wife, Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, the chair of the Maryland Democratic Party, released the following statement:

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Big News

According to CNN, the federal probe into Rudy Giuliani includes a counter-intelligence investigation. This news, if borne out, is a very big deal. It is also the least surprising thing in the world. As we noted earlier this week, Rudy has gone into business, literally and figuratively, with associates of the Russian election interference team from 2016. In some cases, they’re not associates but the same actual people. He wants their help to “prove” Russia and Trump were framed.

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Making the Boss Happy Prime Badge
Today’s Agenda: Pentagon Follows State Dept’s Lead Prime Badge
Closing Thoughts Prime Badge
Impeachment Debate Live Blog #2

10:30 PM: Don’t miss our staff debate live blog here.

10:17 PM: I’m confused. Does Harris think she’s making a strong point here vis a vis Warren?

10:03 PM: I think Biden is doing better for himself in this debate than most people probably realize. But again, Warren just has a dynamism and command that isn’t matched by anyone else on the stage.

9:31 PM: A twelve person debate is an incoherent debate.

9:03 PM: I don’t know exactly how it will play politically or whether it will continue her rise in the polls. But Warren is simply operating at two or three times the speed and power of almost everyone else up on the stage. Sanders has receded far to the background of the debate. To a great degree, Biden has too. Biden’s answers have been clearer and crisper than in earlier debates. But he seems peripheral to the debate itself. Warren is setting the pace and everyone is reacting to her.

8:59 PM: Warren’s answer on being punitive or not was very good.

8:48 PM: I’m far from a supporter. But I think this debate could help Steyer. Clear, coherent, just very straightforward.

Impeachment Debate Live Blog

8:32 PM: Basic point people ignore. When your employer coverage gets replaced by a tax-funded M4A type plan, most employers are going to pocket the savings on premiums. So the idea that it will be a straight swap – premiums for taxes – just ain’t so.

8:29 PM: “Here’s the deal” is canonical dad talk.

8:25 PM: I agree with Buttigieg on M4A, at least on the politics of it. But, man, he really has a hectoring way of explaining his position.

8:12 PM: Check out our staff live blog of the debate here.

8:08 PM: Warren and Sanders decent; Biden a bit low energy; not sure what Booker was talking about.

8:03 PM: All the points Warren and Sanders are making are spot on. But people need to be clear that the key reason why it’s not enough to leave it to the next election is that President Trump is plotting against the election itself. He’s trying to prevent a free and fair election.

It’s Another Debate

We’ll be watching along with you tonight as twelve Democratic presidential contenders take the stage, and TPM’s New York team will be liveblogging our reactions. (Pretty sure the DC office is busy with the Nationals game.)

Follow along here.

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The Ironies of Columbus Day

This morning I helped my older son work on a short school assignment about whether Americans should continue to celebrate Columbus Day or replace it with some holiday celebrating America’s native inhabitants. My own thoughts on this have always been muddled since we shouldn’t be wasting a national day of remembrance on Columbus even if he’d been a great guy. We have many actual Americans who should be put in or put back in the national pantheon.

The actual man Columbus had little conscious understanding of or much to do with the reign of horrors his arrival in the Caribbean rapidly brought in its wake. (The story of European colonization of America and the catastrophic demographic decline and subjugation of its native peoples is fundamentally a story of epidemic disease. Absent disease Europeans would have been equally cruel and rapacious but far less successful in their efforts.) Columbus was personally brutal enough in his treatment of the native inhabitants of Hispaniola to justify his currently awful reputation. And in any case, Columbus the man as opposed to Columbus the impact or the effect hardly matters very much since the entire issue is one of symbols and commemoration, which are matters of the contemporary world, rather than history.

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Great Local TV Work Here

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is grilled by the Nashville NBC affiliate about whether he met with Rudy Giuliani when they were both in Warsaw in February. Pompeo wilts, but refuses to answer:

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A Big Thank You

Before we get to the news this morning I want to thank everyone who made our TPM event in New York last night possible. First I want to thank our special guests Aditi Juneja, Waleed Shahid, Leah Greenberg and Lara Putnam. My only regret is that we didn’t videotape Aditi’s presentation and our panel on the Next Democratic Party so we could share it with members around the country who couldn’t attend in person. I felt more like an attendee than a moderator and host since I was so interested in what each had to say.

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