Editor’s Blog

Gosh, Thanks

From this morning, with your indulgence …

Great work on the news that broke overnight. There are many reasons why I’ve read TPM since the post-Brooks Brothers Riot days, and why I finally ponied up and subscribed to Prime (and then AF), but last night (or this morning, in my case) is as good an illustration as any.

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“I’m Trying to Grapple With the Word ‘Suggest’.”

Perjury on the Mind?

Another fascinating moment. Bill Barr gives a flat denial followed by … well, maybe not so flat.

A Remarkable Moment

Bill Barr really has a hard time deciding whether it’s a problem if a volunteer chairman for an American presidential campaign is on the payroll of a Russian oligarch.

Quick Catch Up

If you missed this morning’s session with Barr, we got you covered. Quick and easy. (And if you want everything, go here.)

Trump Loses His Precious

Apart from the lies and what we’ve learned today, it’s worth drilling in on Bill Barr’s usefulness to President Trump. Trump insiders were giddy in advance of Barr’s arrival, saying Mueller would be gone soon and Trump finally had an Attorney General who was ‘on his side’. That was clearly completely accurate. Barr showed today he’s in the foxhole with President Trump and will be there until the end. But there’s a different, more specific role he played or value he had for Trump. You could see it clearly in those exuberant “total exoneration” days after Barr released his now notorious letter. Read More

Even Worse Than We’d Imagined

Here’s Mueller’s letter to Barr. Even worse than we’d imagined.

Barr’s Mendacity

This exchange has been making the rounds since last night. It’s Rep. Charlie Crist (D-FL) in an April 9 House hearing asking Attorney General William Barr about reports of frustration from members of Mueller’s team. Watch closely.  

So Much Wrong Here Prime Badge

GOP senators are poised to befool themselves in today’s Barr hearing.

Barr Doubles Down

I noted below that tonight’s reporting helped flesh out the backstory of Bill Barr’s actions over the last six weeks. He was apparently irritated that Mueller presented him not with a simple report to the Attorney General narrowly focused on his prosecutorial decisions. He presented a much more detailed report with the Congress and the public as the intended audience. Barr’s prepared remarks for tomorrow’s Senate testimony are now out. He doubles down on his decision to short circuit the intended purpose of the report. Read More

Mueller Did Not Like Barr’s Deceptions Prime Badge
Mueller's Till Now Secret Letter Speaks Volumes
Just In

Judge, declining to adopt President Trump’s narrow definition of emoluments, allows congressional Democrats’ emoluments lawsuit to continue.

Eyes on the Prize

TPM Reader JS is done with purity politics …

I understand all of the criticisms against Biden. OK. He’s handsy. Klobuchar is a rough boss. Bernie might have earned some money on a book. All of these stories about Dem candidates exist in people’s brains at the same time we’re talking about a President who is on tape talking about “grabbing pussies” got made famous by firing people and who’s entire claim to fame is being rich (I can’t stand Bernie or his bros, but how on earth can this “now he’s a millionaire” story matter one bit post-Trump?)

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Umm Private Army for Venezuala?
Erik Prince, founder of CEO of Blackwater, listens during a hearing in front of the House Oversight and Government Reform committee on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, October 2, 2007 in Washington, D.C. (Chuck Kennedy/MCT)

Apparently Erik Prince has pitching wealthy Trump supporters and Venezuelan exiles on a plan to field a private 5,000 man army in Venezuela to oust President Maduro.

From Reuters

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What Can We Make of Rod Rosenstein?
Mueller's Heat Shield or Just Another Trump Hack?

There seems now to be a widespread belief, if not quite a consensus, among critics of President Trump that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who submitted his letter of resignation yesterday, turned out to be just another hack. He’s provided plenty of grist for that appraisal over the last month. But that doesn’t quite capture the full picture. We must always be open to new evidence, constantly be in a process of revising or at least revisiting our settled opinions. But we must resist the temptation to toss out old evidence or settled opinion when new evidence cuts against our assumptions or is contradicted. The evidence that doesn’t fit is always the most important. Read More

Must Read

So is this NRA investigation for real? Does the NY investigation present a real threat to the future of the NRA? Josh Kovensky took a deep dive into the jeopardy the NRA faces and it turns out they’re in a lot of trouble. Here’s Josh’s report.

The Threat To The NRA Prime Badge
Have We Normalized Anti-Semitism? Prime Badge
Implications of the NRA Implosion

You probably saw the fireworks last week and over the weekend in which the two top leaders of the National Rifle Association publicly accused each other of corruption and tried to kick each other out of the organization. Wayne LaPierre, who has essentially owned the NRA for a couple decades, appears to have won that battle. Oliver North, who announced he will not run for another term, lost. But I want to talk about some dimensions and implications of this implosion that may be less clear.

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Bolton: Yes, We Agreed to Pay North Korea But We Didn’t

This may be the first instance where President Trump’s experience dealing with contractors in real estate development projects came in handy in international relations.

Bill Barr Doubles Down on the Coverup

Attorney General Bill Barr has dramatically escalated his Mueller Report coverup and effort to effectively end independent oversight of his Department by Congress. According to this report, he is refusing to show up to testify this week before the House Judiciary Committee unless he is accorded a veto right over the questioning format. Read More

Further Details

Details now firming up on the synagogue shooting. It appears that there were four shooting victims, one of whom died.

More Details on Synagogue Shooting

Summarizing the threads of information we’ve received so far about the Poway (near San Diego, CA) synagogue shooting.

A man police believe is the shooter is in custody. No details on his identity. Town Mayor says the synagogue was clearly targeted.

A local medical center confirms receiving four shooting victims from the incident. There’s no clarity on the extent of the injuries. There are unconfirmed reports of a single fatality. The town mayor referred to “unconfirmed reports” of a fatality in TV appearances shortly after the shooting.

[At roughly 4:59 PM, the mayor appeared on CNN and appeared to confirm a single fatality.]

The rabbi was apparently shot in the hand and continued trying to calm the congregants and the shooter – what that meant about the shooter wasn’t entirely clear. There are reports that the congregants somehow “engaged” with the shooter. Unclear whether this was trying to talk down the shooter or physically engage him.

BREAKING: Synagogue Shooting

Early reports of a shooting at a synagogue in Poway, California. Reports suggest that there are shooting victims (extent of injuries not clear) and that someone has been detained for questioning. But beyond that details are sketchy.

3:48 PM: Union-Tribune says “As many as four people have reportedly been shot”, so you can see, reports from the local press remain imprecise, sketchy. Police were reported first called to the scene at 11:30 AM local time. Numerous reports refer to a man being “detained” in connection with the shooting. But we can’t assume that that person is the shooter or that the incident is over.

4:16 PM: Local TV report suggests that police on the scene seem confident that the man taken into custody was the shooter, according to this report taken into custody a few blocks from the synagogue. Notably, this report refers to the Rabbi, who was reportedly shot in the hand, trying to calm both congregants and the shooter. So possibly, he was able to disrupt the shooting or the shooter panicked in some way. Obviously, all these reports should be treated as highly tentative.

4:22 PM: Mayor of Poway says he has “unconfirmed reports of one fatality,” also refers to members of the congregation “engaging” with the shooter and in some way limiting the injuries. Unclear whether this is verbal engagement or some attempt to physically disrupt the shooting.

Who Beats Trump?

The good thing about presidential primaries and electability is that we aren’t just limited to guessing. Everyone’s running (almost literally). We’ve got the better part of a year to see how the different contenders campaign and hold up under the pressure of a campaign. For the moment, Joe Biden clearly polls better than any other current candidate against Donald Trump.

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