Editor’s Blog

That’s A Wrap

Kavanaugh concludes his public testimony. Catch up with Tierney Sneed’s reporting from the hearing.

Trump Will Invoke Low-Energy 5th

Giuliani rules out Trump ever answering investigators questions about obstruction, either in person or in writing.

Quick Point on the Op-Ed Denials

We’ve now seen that a growing list of top Trump administration officials are denying that they wrote the New York Times op-ed. There’s much less here than meets the eye. Let me explain. Read More

The Senate Might Really Be In Play

Basically a tie. But Democrat Phil Bredesen has a two point margin over Marsha Blackburn.

Primates! It’s Just Us!

If you’re reading this post on the TPM front page, you must be a Prime member. It’s not behind our Prime paywall. It doesn’t even show up on the site unless you’re a Prime member who is logged into the site.

What’s the point?

I don’t imagine we’d use this very often. But the main issue is that as we’ve steadily built our number of Prime subscribers – now at just shy of 29,000 members – we’ve realized that it’s probably annoying to hear pitches to join Prime when you’re already a member. So this system let’s me have some posts show only to non-members and others only to members. All of which is to say that you won’t have to see anywhere near as many of those Prime pitch posts. I still may occasionally do one that everyone sees if we hit some big milestone or something else that might be relevant to current members. But mostly not.

This will also make it possible for me to share news about relevant updates to Prime or news that for whatever reason is only relevant to members.

Must Read on the Politics of Gerrymandering

We’ve just released the third installment in our 2018 special editorial series on Voting Rights and Democracy. In installment three, Rachel Cohen looks at the critical issues of gerrymandering, redistricting reform and other reforms like automatic voter registration to see whether the various progressive groups who are now dedicated to fighting on these issues will be successful in making them top tier issues not just in the abstract but for voters when they enter the ballot box.

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 13: The facade and logo of the New York Times newspaper is pictured on April 13, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Gary Hershorn/Getty Images)
What WAS This About?

Here’s some of that potentially portentous exchange between Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Brett Kavanaugh last night:

Read More

Hmmm …

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) was casting a lot of aspersions on Brett Kavanaugh. Will she deliver the goods?

More on the Test Tube

I wanted to follow up on my post below about Kavanaugh being a made to order Justice, courtesy of the Federalist Society and the rest of the conservative judicial incubation infrastructure. One highly knowledgeable reader of ours, who comes out of the DC legal world, notes more specific points: specifically, the way Kavanaugh’s grooming and incubation was conducted for the specific purpose of a) being absolutely certain that he was a strict right-wing ideologue, with no hidden dimensions of possible heterodoxy unexamined and b)that he was clean as a whistle, not only with no scandals but no paper trail that would cause undue problems. No more emerging heterodoxy like Kennedy and Souter. No more flame-outs like Bork.

From TPM Reader XX (true initials witheld) … Read More

Kavanaugh, Raised in a Test Tube for the High Court
on September 5, 2018 in Washington, DC.

For all the talk about Kavanaugh’s judicial extremism, what stands out to me most about him is that he was essentially raised in a test tube for the purposes of serving on the Supreme Court. Of course, these two facts are not exclusive of each other. They are more the means (test tube incubated Justice) and the end (made to spec conservative maximalist Justice). But he is uniquely this way. He was born and bred in Republican DC. He was given the right education. He has been guided from his twenties through a cursus honorum of titles, clerkships, offices, Republican political appointments, judgeships and more. Read More

Don’t Miss a Moment

Check out the latest updates from the Kavanaugh hearing in Livewire.

Wall-To-Wall Kavanaugh

Day 2 of the Kavanaugh hearing began with protestors interrupting.

Tierney Sneed is in the hearing room, and will spearhead our daylong coverage.

Yes!

Trump couldn’t have been this awesome if what Woodward wrote were true, Sarah Huckabee Sanders says. Watch.

Ad Free TPM

A number of you have written in over the last couple weeks since we debuted the new front page asking if we’re still planning to offer a Prime step-up which gets you a completely ad free version of TPM. The answer is YES! We definitely are. Our tentative schedule is that we’ll offer this starting toward the end of October.

If you’re interested, follow me after the jump for some more details and to let us know if you’re considering signing up. Read More

Forget the Book. Read the Transcript.
on August 27, 2018 in Washington, DC.

A short time ago The Washington Post published a transcript of an August 14th, 2018 call between President Trump and Bob Woodward. The call is from Trump. After months of refusing an interview with Woodward for his book, suddenly he wants to do one – even though the book is already at the printer.

I wouldn’t say that I felt sorry for Trump reading the transcript. But it’s a deeply awkward read. Trump’s angle is that he would have been happy to talk to Woodward for the book. But Woodward never asked. No one ever told him. Over the course of the interview it becomes clear that Woodward has asked basically every senior member of the President’s communications team: Hope Hicks, Kellyanne Conway, Raj Shah, et al. He even asked Lindsey Graham – Trump’s new best bud – to talk to the President on his behalf. Read More

Is Anyone Surprised by These Woodward Revelations?

You can see Kate Riga’s run-down of some of the most jarring revelations of the new Woodward book on Trump here. She has other morsels here in Livewire. Read More

Into the Storm

I wanted to flag your attention to the new ABC/WaPo poll out this morning. No one poll is that significant. But this is part of a trend I noted yesterday. The poll shows Democrats now holding a 14 point edge in the so-called congressional generic ballot. That’s on the high side for recent polls, but not dramatically so. The 538 ‘average’ of all polls for the generic ballot is now just under 11 points. It started diverging in the Democrats’ direction in the first week of August. Read More

Kavanaugh on Livewire

One key goal of our new front page design was that we wanted to get “Livewire” back to what it began as years ago: short, fast nuggets of news as they develop. That’s where we’ll be doing most of our breaking updates out of the Kavanaugh hearings today. You can see that over on the right rail of the front page. Or you can go to the Livewire page here.

Kavanaugh

We’ll be bringing you close coverage of the Kavanaugh hearings today. TPM’s Tierney Sneed is on Capitol Hill in the hearing room. Our team will be covering the unfolding events in and outside the hearings.

Here We Go

Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing about to get underway.

You can follow Tierney Sneed’s live coverage from the hearing room in TPMLivewire, catch up on all of our Kavanaugh coverage, and watch the live stream.

The Calm Before the Storm
on August 17, 2018 in Washington, DC.

A few times over the last month I’ve had the sense that I may actually struggle to acclimate to a post-Trump politics. That doesn’t mean I don’t want it or look forward to it. As basically every sensible person has argued, the rise of Trump has been a catastrophe for the United States and every day he remains in office inflicts greater damage. But recently I’ve been thinking back to the Obama years and – crazy as they often seemed – how comparatively placid they were, even though they were not really placid at all. But the sheer intensity, drama, bad-acting nature of Trump’s presidency is in an entirely different category.

As I wrote before Trump even became President, living with a Trump presidency, at least if your work is politics, is comparable to living in the home of an abuser or someone with a severe personality disorder. People who live in those settings develop tools, coping mechanisms to handle that level of emotional turbulence, aggression, craziness. They can require a degree of unlearning once they find a more healthy environment. The tools you develop living in close proximity to an abuser are usually mal-adaptive when the abuser is no longer present.  Read More

ARRGHGHGH!

Argh. I should have reminded you yesterday! We set an extremely ambitious goal for the first week of our annual Prime membership drive: 1000 new members. We defined the end of the first week more or less arbitrarily as Sunday, yesterday. And we got to 990! I was a little crushed when I checked the numbers this morning. But the truth is this is still an amazing number and gets us a big chunk of the way to our goal for the entire drive. So thank you. In that spirit I’ve decided to extend the notional week for on additional day, today. So if you feel like Labor Day is the day to finally sign up for Prime, there’s no better day than today. Just click right here.

For the Prime buffs and/or journalism buffs among you, there are now 28,835 paying Prime members.

The Butina/CPAC/NRA Oil Deal Is True To Form

The news that alleged Russian agent Maria Butina was trying to partner with the wife of the former President of the NRA and CPAC on a ridiculous and massive oil deal with fuel from Russia is entirely, wholly expected, entirely to form. The original Times story actually contains this line, which is revealing on a number of levels: “During her time in the United States, she surrounded herself not only with high-profile American conservatives but also with dubious characters who seemed bent on making a fast buck — and it was not always easy to tell one from the other. Read More

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