Around 2:30 p.m. last Thursday, TPM investigative reporter Josh Kovensky and I were having a conversation through instant message as I edited one of his articles. In the middle of this, he suddenly wrote “HUH.”
Then: “I just had a breakthrough.”
I continued editing, and he started working on something new. I soon learned what that breakthrough was.
The story of Kovensky’s realization illustrates just how knowledgeable our reporting team is and how our members make their tireless work to report on and analyze the news possible. (So if you’re not a member, please take a moment to join.)
And read on about his big hunch.
We often hear from readers (sometimes, painfully, former readers) that they wish we covered climate change more, among other issues. And we do, too. It’s one of the most important political stories of our lifetimes.
Historically, TPM has favored news and investigations on which we can break ground where other outlets haven’t. We’ve been less likely to cover larger, slower moving, but ultimately existentially critical stories.
But last week, we devoted a significant amount of our resources to focusing on the climate story. And it was our membership model that allowed us to do it.
So please take a moment to join if you’re not already a member.
I want to thank everyone who’s decided to join us as members since we kicked off our annual membership drive yesterday morning – almost 140 new members so far. If you thought about it yesterday, make today the day. Break the routine, pull out a credit card and help us make this a success. It’s critical. Just click right here.
We just recorded today’s episode of The Josh Marshall Podcast with David and Kate, joined by TPM Reporter Josh Kovensky. I highly recommend your listening when it comes out this afternoon. Josh has a unique handle not only on this story but the different personages involved, many of whom he’s interviewed because of his work as a reporter in Ukraine before he came to TPM. He’ll have a piece coming out later this afternoon which gives a possible answer to the State Department involvement in this caper — which, believe it or not, seems semi-exonerating for the State Department at least. Stay tuned.
If you’re a regular reader but not a subscriber, we really need you to take the plunge and become a member. You’ve probably thought about it but didn’t have the time. Just take a moment right now — literally now. Take out your wallet and sign up. It’s easy. You’ll be done in two minutes. It’s a great deal. And our work truly depends on it. Just click here.
It’s long been clear that if the President is driven from office it will only be by the voters in November 2020. Trump has overseen and catalyzed a decisive pivot by the GOP toward authoritarian rule and illiberal politics. Trump will always have 30-something Republican senators who will maintain him in office no matter what crimes he commits or how he violates his oath of office. But we’ve now reached an impasse, a critical juncture at which the House of Representatives, controlled by a party that still supports the rule of law, has no choice but to dramatically intensify its oversight efforts up to and including voting on articles of impeachment against the President. The very premise of democratic government and the rule of law is under active attack by a lawless President.
Today we’re launching our annual membership drive at TPM. (TLDR? Click here and join.) If you have already subscribed and become a member, we truly appreciate it. Since 2015 you have helped us grow our membership numbers from just over 3,000 to now exactly 30,670 members. That has made us a model of what independent media organizations can do focusing on members as the news media staggers in the face of ad industry woes. It is critical that we add 2,000 new members by the end of the calendar year (bring us to 32,700 total members, to be precise). And we hope to do most or all of it during this drive. This is critical for our finances, for our team’s effort to build a robust and sustainable business model based on memberships. But it’s also about something beyond us.
I mentioned below that the key thing about this latest and most egregious Trump scandal is that his senior team was clearly in on it, aware of it, participated in it. One key person here is Vice President Mike Pence. Earlier this month Pence flew to Poland to fill in for President Trump in meetings with European leaders on the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of World War II. On September 1st, he met in Warsaw with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The next day he held a press conference with President Duda of Poland at which he was specifically asked whether he had pressed Zelensky to manufacture damaging information about Joe Biden and whether military aid was being held up until he did.
Pence started by saying he hadn’t and then proceeded to give an answer that made it pretty clear that he had, even if he had not mentioned the former Vice President by name. It caught the ear’s of everyone who was already following this story. It’s even more clear with what we learned last week.
The only reasonable response to the President’s effort to force Ukraine to interfere in the 2020 presidential election is to demand the President resign and be prosecuted for criminal abuse of power after he leaves the White House. The President has deserved to be impeached for years. But last week’s revelations have an immediate bearing on the President’s foreign policy team and his top advisors at the White House.
New breaking news episode of The Josh Marshall Podcast. Kate Riga and I talk to TPM’s Josh Kovensky about what we’ve learned on the Ukraine/Whistleblower front over the last 48 hours and how it connects up with Josh’s reporting going back months. If you’re interested in understanding this story I strongly recommend it. Listen here.
The lede in this new Journal article pretty much tells the story.
President Trump in a July phone call repeatedly pressured the president of Ukraine to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden ’s son, urging Volodymyr Zelensky about eight times to work with Rudy Giuliani, his personal lawyer, on a probe, according to people familiar with the matter.
As part of the Covering Climate Now coalition’s week devoted to climate coverage, we published a few great Cafe pieces that really get at the politics of climate action.
All four that we published are worth a look, but we had two particularly insightful posts from political science researchers.
Over the last 24 hours, in emails and tweets, I’ve heard people say some version of ‘Hey, it’s a twofer. Maybe this new scandal will take out Trump and Joe Biden!’
Let me say that there are lots of reasons for Democrats not to support Joe Biden – ideology, mass incarceration, age, it not being his time, politics, just qualities as a campaigner. But even though these comments are semi-flippant this is a temptation Democrats should resist. This really is no different from claims that Hillary Clinton killed Vince Foster or Barack Obama was born in Kenya, though obviously there’s a racist component to the latter canard. In terms of being in touch with reality or not, it’s no different. Democrats are prone to being manipulated in this way. They really need to resist the urge, just as Clinton’s opponents should have resisted rightwing and Russian efforts to sow divisions among them in 2016.
President Trump has just gotten his first crack at responding to last night’s news. Asked whether he discussed Joe Biden in his conversation with the President of Ukraine, he replies: “It doesn’t matter what I discussed” and says “someone out to look into Joe Biden.”