Editor’s Blog

Take Three on Trump Dirty Tricks

I noted below that the Israeli private intelligence firm that Harvey Weinstein hired to dig up dirt and muzzle his accusers is now mounting some sort of operation against at least two Obama administration national security officials. The initial version of the story from The Guardian said they were hired by aides to President Trump. Another account from Ronan Farrow at The New Yorker went deeper but was less certain about who was paying the bill. One source told Farrow it was “part of Black Cube’s work for a private-sector client pursuing commercial interests related to sanctions on Iran.”

Now Black Cube is out with its third successive response to the story, which of course should be taken with some skepticism. Read More

Here’s Why We Care About Fima Shusterman

For a sense of why we may care about Michael Cohen and father-in-law Fima Shusterman’s massive loans to a cratering business, look at this passage from a book to be published tomorrow, which I strongly recommend purchasing.

This passage is from Trump/Russia: A Definitive History.

Those Stories About Cohens/Shustermans Lending $26 Million Are Probably Wrong
on April 26, 2018 in New York City.

This may seem a bit in the weeds. But if you’re trying to make sense of Michael Cohen’s role in all the money transactions being probed by the Feds, as well as the role of Fima Shusterman, his father-in-law, who appears to be his key connection into the Ukrainian immigrant money world, this is an important point.

There have been various reports that Cohen and Shusterman have loaned $26 million to the Shtayner family, another taxi baron family of Ukrainian immigrants who live in New York City but own a cab business based in Chicago. The story is that Cohen lent the Shtayner’s $6 million since 2012 and Fima Shusterman has lent them $20 million over the last eight months. This is the story according to the AP and also the weekend piece in the Times. Read More

GOP Fighting To Protect Right To Gerrymander

With the next round of redistricting approaching after the 2020 Census, we’re seeing powerful movements in a number of states to end gerrymandering and ensure districts are drawn more fairly.

So it’s no surprise, as Allegra Kirkland reports, that the GOP is mobilizing to protect their right to rig the maps.

The Dates Fit Together

I want to follow up on a point I made over the weekend: the Trump Family’s decisive turn to paying cash as opposed to financing their projects with debt starting in 2006 isn’t just an odd and hard to explain in itself. The shift also dovetails almost perfectly with his shift to reliance on money from Russia and Ukraine. 2006 is also the year when Michael Cohen went to work for the President. It’s also the year the Trump Soho development project got underway.

There are still some important qualifiers to the story. Read More

Stunning Developments on Trump/Private Black Ops Oppo Targeting Obama Staffers

We have a pretty stunning development about aides to Donald Trump apparently (though they deny it) hiring the same Israeli dirty ops/private intel firm that Harvey Weinstein used to cover up his history to mount an operation against public supporters of the Iran deal.

We start with this story in The Guardian. It’s very hedged and key details are not included. But the gist is that aides to Donald Trump hired an Israeli security firm to dig up dirt on two prominent supporters of the Iran nuclear deal. They are Ben Rhodes and Colin Kahl, both Obama administration national security hands who were involved in the negotiation. They both continue to be prominent supporters of it into the Trump era. Last night I said that it sounded like Black Cube, the firm that surveilled and ran black ops operations against Harvey Weinstein’s accusers on his behalf. Read More

Where’s Rudy Getting the Money?

I mentioned a few days ago that just last March Rudy Giuliani went to Albania to speak before an Iranian exile group which is widely regarded as a cult and was for many years a US-government designated terrorist group. Giuliani is a long-time recipient of money (for speeches and lobbying) from the MEK and its various front groups. (There’s no word yet on what he was paid if anything for the March appearance.) Read More

onstage during the 7th Biennial UNICEF Ball on April 14, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California.
on February 23, 2018 in Washington, DC.
More Alabama Sheriff Craziness…

We recently wrote about Todd Entrekin, the Alabama sheriff accused of taking over $750,000 for inmates’ food and using it to buy a beach-house.

But when it comes to abuses of power, another sheriff in the state is giving Entrekin a run for his money. Ana Franklin took $160,000 also meant for inmates’ food and invested it in a sketchy used-car lot. She hasn’t accounted for an additional tens of thousands of dollars she said went to charity. And when a local blogger exposed her, she had the blogger’s source arrested.

Allegra Kirkland has the crazy details.

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 28:  Former FBI director Robert Mueller attends the ceremonial swearing-in of FBI Director James Comey at the FBI Headquarters October 28, 2013 in Washington, DC. Comey was officially sworn in as director of FBI on September 4 to succeed Mueller who had served as director for 12 years.  (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Special Edition

We’ve seen an avalanche of news about the Trump legal team, the Stormy Daniels pay-off, the state of the Michael Cohen investigation and the President’s evolving legal jeopardy in the last 24 hours. It started yesterday afternoon with news about a shake up on the President’s legal team and spun out of control in that Rudy Giuliani interview on Hannity last night. We wanted to try to make sense of everything that happened, put it into a comprehensible whole. So we recorded a special “Extra” edition of The Josh Marshall Podcast this afternoon. Listen right here. And tell us what you think.

Rudy Went to Albania to Hang Out with A Iran Regime Change Cult (Really)

Mujahideen-e Khalq (MEK) is a notorious cult-like group of Iranian exiles which appears to have close to literally zero support inside Iran but has for years cultivated significant ties to DC Iran “regime change” advocates as well as a bipartisan list of shills willing to take their money (of which they have quite a lot).

It’s an odd group which mixes Islam, Marxism and neocon-inflected DC Pay-to-Play values into a bizarre amalgam run by current cult leader Maryam Rajavi. Until just a few years ago the US State Department listed them as a terrorist organization. They appear to be mainly out of the terrorism business now. But they’re still a treacherous and dangerous group. With all this you’ll be glad to learn that one of their biggest backers is none other than Trump National Security Advisor John Bolton. And perhaps they’re most high profile and ardent supporter (and recipient of their cash) is Rudy Giuliani. Read More

This Won’t End Well

House Chaplain ‘unresigns’, says Ryan aide objected to his being Catholic.

Late Update: Speaker Ryan caves almost instantly, unfires Chaplain, says his decision was based on “what I believed to be the best interest of this institution”

‘An MO For Other More Serious Crimes’

Read what this person says. I cannot identify the person but I can vouch for the expertise.

I know everyone has a take on this Rudy/Cohen shit-show, but I thought I would give you some perspective from someone steeped in anti-corruption enforcement (both domestic and foreign) on the prosecution and defense side.

Read More

9/11, 9/11, 9/11!!!!

Here’s a Rudy Giuliani Golden Oldie from the TPM Video Vaults. Watch. You’ll be glad you did. After the jump … Read More

What We Still Don’t Know

Rudy G’s big revelation leaves so many questions unanswered. In fact, the extent of the key missing information highlights what a total clusterf*** Giuliani’s TV appearances over the last 13 hours have been.  Here are the top questions (for Prime subscribers) that we’re framing our coverage around.

It’s Not Personal … It’s Strictly Business

When Rudy Giuliani calls Jared Kushner “disposable,” all bets are off.

Rudes in Twilight

I’ve heard from a lot of people this morning claiming that Rudy’s revelation last night was all by design, and a logical new legal strategy at that. Not likely. Read More

Trump Unbound

After Rudy Giuliani clumsily stumbled into a new legal firestorm last night on Hannity’s show, President Trump is on Twitter this morning with a more detailed explanation of his payments to Stormy Daniels, what they were for, and more slashing and focused denials that the two ever had sex. Read More

Oh Good Lord

Giuliani went on Hannity this evening and stumbled into saying that President Trump paid Michael Cohen back the $130,000, something Trump has denied. Hannity tried to walk him back. But it didn’t go really well.

More Bad News For Greitens

Last year, the Missouri ethics commission investigated how Gov. Eric Greitens came to possess a donor list from a veterans’ charity he founded. If Greitens took the list, it would be a major campaign finance violation. Greitens, a Republican elected in 2016, swore in a consent decree with the commission that his campaign got the list via an in-kind contribution from its campaign manager, Danny Laub.

But now, Laub has testified that Greitens was lying about that. And Laub says he was duped by Greitens’ team into taking the fall. As we already knew, it looks like Greitens himself directed someone to send the list to the campaign. Allegra Kirkland has all the details.

But that’s not all…

Read More