Editor’s Blog

Biden Beating Trump Handily in Florida

A new Quinnipiac poll has Joe Biden far out ahead of every other Democratic presidential candidate (41%), with Bernie Sanders (14%) and Elizabeth Warren (12%) in close to a tie. Notably, Biden and Sanders are in close to a tie among Democrats 18-49 (Biden 26%, Sanders 28%) while Democrats 50 and over are all but unanimous (Biden 52%, Sanders 5%).

Biden is beating Trump handily in a state match-up 50%-41%. And the rest are in the standard pattern. Sanders 48% v Trump 42%. Warren 47% v Trump 43%. Harris and Buttigieg both have a 1 point margin over Trump.

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Post-Traumatic Stress, Polls and Trump Magical Thinking Prime Badge
The Leaked Poll Saga Has Forced a Reckoning with Trump's Profound and Enduring Unpopularity
I Need a Moment of Your Time

I want to share with you an offer we’re going to be making to existing Prime subscribers later this month and also a request, one that is very important to the future of TPM. I’d be greatly obliged if you’d give me just a few moments to explain what we’re doing and why it’s very important to the future of TPM.

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Rep. Katie Porter Supports Impeachment Inquiry

Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA) announces she’s decided to support beginning an impeachment inquiry of President Trump. Here’s the video of her announcement. The Cook Report rates her district (CA-45) as a R+3 district.

Electoral Subversion is About a Lot More than FEC Violations

President Trump’s instantly notorious interview with George Stephanopoulos in which he expressed openness to receiving foreign government assistance in the 2020 presidential election sparked a flurry of pushback and denunciations. The Chair of the FEC released a statement rebuking the President. Various lawyers noted laws prohibiting candidates from accepting things of value from foreign nationals. But many of the criticisms themselves illustrate more than anything the impact almost three years of Republican gaslighting, goal post moving and obfuscation has had on the public debate in this country. The fact that accepting assistance from a foreign government – which President Trump wants to establish as the new norm – might technically be construed as a campaign finance violation is close to the least relevant thing about what happened in the 2016 election. This should also remind us that most the scandal of the 2016 election and what amounts to the permanent scandal of the Trump presidency involves wrongdoing and misrule that is simply not captured by our statutory law. They are attacks on the nature of a civic republican government and principles embedded throughout the federal constitution.

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Security Threat

According to the Times, the Pentagon’s cybercommand is taking newly aggressive steps to inject cyberweapons into Russian critical infrastructure. But they are withholding this information from the President because among other reasons they consider him a security threat and they fear he might countermand the orders or share the information with Russian officials.

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As Corrupt As It Gets

Yet more evidence that (now deceased) GOP consultant specializing in increasing voting power of white Americans was behind Census Bureau decision to add citizenship question to the 2020 Census.

Impeachment and Accountability Prime Badge
10 Highlights From Josh Marshall’s Reddit AMA Prime Badge
Why Doesn’t McGahn Fight Back?
Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh arrives for testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee the second day of his Supreme Court confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill September 5, 2018 in Washington, DC. Kavanaugh was nominated by President Donald Trump to fill the vacancy on the court left by retiring Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy.

Someone asked me this morning how it is that Don McGahn still refuses to testify to Congress even after Donald Trump is literally accusing him of committing a felony by lying under oath in his testimony to the Special Counsel’s Office. One point to note here: no one thinks that the White House can bind McGahn. The White House can arguably give him a rationale, legal reason to refuse to testify. But he’s definitely free to do what he wants. So why is he still doing Trump’s bidding?

The answer is as clear as it is depressing.

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Trump Accuses McGahn of Perjuring Himself

Just so we’re clear on this. The President directly accused his former White House Counsel, Don McGahn, of lying under oath in his testimony to the Mueller investigators. His alleged lie was telling them about Trump’s demands to fire Robert Mueller. Why did he lie? “Because he wanted to make himself look like a good lawyer.”

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Reddit AMA

Got any questions? Tomorrow at 12:30 PM Eastern I’m doing a Reddit AMA. If you’re not a Redditer that means Ask Me Anything. Open questions for me about anything and everything. I’ll be posting a link tomorrow morning.

Also, if you’re on Reddit, I wanted to let you know we have our own official TPM Reddit page right here. So it’s an easy way for you to find our stuff at Reddit.

The Consumer

I’ve been thinking about President Trump’s comments to George Stephanopoulos. Why did he say that? That he would do that doesn’t surprise me. But why would he say it?

One part of it is probably the most innocent explanation (everything is relative). For Trump to say he would not work with a foreign government against his domestic political enemies would suggest that he or his family members or staffers did something wrong in 2016. Maybe they didn’t commit a crime. Maybe they didn’t “collude”, whatever that means. But to say he wouldn’t do this in 2020 would be to concede what he has never conceded and cannot concede but which likely strikes most of us as obvious: he and his campaign did something deeply wrong by welcoming and making use of damaging information from a foreign adversary state.

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White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, stands by as reporters speak to attendees of the event combatting drug demand and the opioid crisis, outside the West Wing of the White House, on Thursday October 26th, 2017. (Photo by Cheriss May/NurPhoto)
What A Total S***show Prime Badge
Trump Tells Polish President: US Media is Corrupt

Trump tells Poland’s rightist/authoritarian President: “Much of the media unfortunately in this country is corrupt. I have to tell you that, Mr. President.”

Earlier Trump commented on protests in Hong Kong: “I hope that it all works out for China and for Hong Kong … I hope that they can work it out with China.”

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Oh My!

Looks like Mike Flynn may be going full Papadopoulos after all. Or maybe at least half Papadopoulos.

Poll: Charge President With Crimes, Don’t Impeach

Quinnipiac has new poll data about impeachment out today. It shows among other things the public has pretty different takes on the presidency than what is treated largely as a given within elite opinion.

One big takeaway is that the public does not support impeaching the President: 61% to 33% say Congress should not begin the process of impeaching the President. That obviously includes lots of Republicans who are firmly against it. Democrats support it, unsurprisingly, but there’s significant opposition even there. 62% of Democrats favor but 31% oppose. African-Americans are the only demographic group that supports impeachment, 63% to 31%.

But that’s not the whole story. American voters overwhelmingly believe a sitting President should be able to face criminal charges while he or she serves as President, just like every other American.

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Oh Boy

Looks like Mike Flynn may be doubling down on a presidential pardon. He has hired a  new lawyer not from the small circle of high-powered white-collar criminal defense attorneys in DC, but with pro-Trump/anti-Mueller bona fides.

Will Impeachment Boost Trumps’ Approval Numbers?

President Trump is still angry about the prospect of impeachment. But he’s apparently intrigued with the idea that the battle might actually help boost his approval numbers as it did President Clinton more than 20 years ago. As you know, I think impeaching the President now is unwise, but not because I think or fear that it will boost him politically. We can’t know the future. But the notion that getting impeached will somehow help Trump is mainly based on poor memories or in some cases no memories of just what happened back in 1998. More than poor memories, it’s tied to many people’s inability to grapple with how badly they got the Starr investigation wrong.

Let’s review some history.

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Trump Pledges No Spying on North Korea
President Donald Trump meets North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019, in Hanoi. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci) President Donald Trump has dinner with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019, in Hanoi. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

Here’s a fascinating and disturbing part of Trump’s impromptu presser early this afternoon. It got less play than the Biden trash talk or the Mexico “secret agreement.” You had to know the backstory, which I didn’t, to even understand what was being said. Yesterday, The Wall Street Journal reported that Kim Jong Un’s half-brother, Kim Jong Nam was a CIA source. This Kim was assassinated by poison in 2017 in Malaysia, by all accounts by the North Korean government. He had lived in exile for a number of years. Trump got asked about this and he responded by pledging to Kim Jong Un that he would not allow the CIA to spy in this way “under my auspices.”

In essence he was pledging not to spy on North Korea and arguably apologizing for whatever relationship the CIA had with Kim Jon Nam.

Video after the jump …

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New Poll Shows Dems Crushing Trump — And Not Just Biden
on August 14, 2018 in Janesville, Wisconsin.

Earlier this morning I published some reader emails and my own commentary about the electability issue. As I noted here, to me the other candidates besides Biden need to show over the remainder of 2019 that they’re strong candidates against Donald Trump. In an email I hadn’t published yet, TPM Reader MO wrote, “I’m happy to grab some popcorn and watch for the next six months for any of these candidates to prove themselves as Trump-beaters. So far only Biden is making the case.” That’s where I am. But a new Quinnipiac Poll just came out which may start to change the equation. Biden is still the strongest contender against Trump. But the others are beating him pretty handily too.

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The Secret Agreement

President Trump is being pressed to back up claims he has a secret agreement for Mexico to buy billions of additional American agricultural goods, a claim Mexico denies. Here he holds up a blank piece of paper to prove the secret agreement exists.

Trump later explained that the secret deal “goes into effect when I want it to.”

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