Editor’s Blog

Quite a Statement

Rudy Giuliani says collusion is not a crime and in any case the collusion ended before the election.

This Is Super Important

We set a super ambitious goal this year that is critical to our organization’s future. We wanted to get to 30,000 Prime subscribers by the close of 2018. And we are really, really close. We’re currently at 29,351. So we are 649 subscribers short of that number with about half of December to go. I know from a lot of conversations – one as recently as yesterday – that there are still a lot of devoted readers who just haven’t gotten around to joining us. So if that’s you, this one is for you. It’s super easy to join and it’s just $4.99 a month, barely more than a fancy cup of coffee at the local cafe. Take a moment and take the plunge. Building what we’re building is super important. So like literally stop for a just a moment, break the slipstream of your daily routine … grab your wallet, get out the card and sign up.

The Weekly Standard’s Closing Should be Mourned

I didn’t want to write about The Weekly Standard’s closing until it was official. I was hoping that an angel would descend from the heavens, but it seems that the magazine’s owner, who was eager for the subscriber list for a magazine version of the Washington Examiner, did not want to sell.  You ask: Why should I – whose disagreements with the Standard’s editorial stances would fill a short book – care?  It has to do with the valuable role that opinion magazines like The Weekly Standard have played in American politics.
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It’s Really a Thing

This is an interesting read two-and-a-half years later.

Is This Secret Case Related To Mueller’s Investigation?

Tierney Sneed spent the morning at the D.C. federal courthouse looking into a sealed case that many reporters covering the Russia probe believe is related to Mueller’s work. She writes about her sleuthing for Prime members.

Greed and Corruption

Yesterday’s news is a good reminder of a fundamental point drawing together all unfolding scandals: The Trump campaign, like its parent organization the Trump Organization, was fabulously corrupt. That limitless, flagrant and ravenous corruption made it ripe for compromise, subversion and control by foreign actors.

Tantrum

In apparent fit over new legal woes, President Trump cancels annual White House holiday party for the press.

What Did The Enquirer Admit To?
In this Jan. 31, 2014 photo David Pecker,  David Pecker, Chairman and CEO of American Media, addresses those attending the Shape & Men's Fitness Super Bowl Party in New York. The Aug. 21, 2018 plea deal reached by Donald Trump's former attorney Michael Cohen has laid bare a relationship between the president and Pecker, whose company publishes the National Enquirer. Besides detailing tabloid’s involvement in payoffs to porn star Stormy Daniels and Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal to keep quiet about alleged affairs with Trump, court papers showed how David Pecker, a longtime friend of the president, offered to help Trump stave off negative stories during the 2016 campaign. (AP Photo/Marion Curtis)

It made a big, big stir yesterday when the Manhattan US Attorney’s announced yesterday that the parent company of The National Enquirer, AMI, had entered a non-prosecution agreement with prosecutors. AMI agreed that the Daniels and McDougal payments were meant to protect Trump’s campaign. I’m less impressed than others that this dramatically raises the legal stakes for Trump: AMI and Cohen vs Trump rather than Cohen vs Trump. This will never be a conventional trial, whether it’s in a courtroom or in the court of public opinion. More interesting to me is what else AMI revealed. Read More

Today’s Agenda: Butina In Court Prime Badge
Let the Looting Begin!!!

I’m glad this is finally getting some attention and sorry I hadn’t gotten on it earlier. The AP ran a piece yesterday about how Jared and Ivanka stand to profit from a wildly sleazy developer tax credit they pushed in the big tax cut bill last year. They’re called Qualified Opportunity Zones. And they create huge – and I mean huge – potential tax shelters for extremely wealthy people, especially those who play in the real estate game. Read More

Transcript Ownership Update

We went all in yesterday on that wild Oval Office meeting with Trump, Pelosi, Schumer and a wax figure version of Vice President Pence installed in the background. Here are the top video moments in case you missed it yesterday. But TPM Reader MRK flagged something I’d missed in all the antic energy of the moment. I don’t get the sense many others caught it either. Trump always shares everything going through his head out loud and in real time. And just before letting the Pelosi/Schumer tag team bait him into saying he was eager to shut down the government and make it his personal shutdown he said out loud what his original plan has been before Pelosi got in his face and slapped him around.

I’ll let MRK explain.

My heart was racing as I watched this insane interaction in the Oval Office today. If the stakes weren’t so high, it might have been enjoyable, although as things stand, I just feel nervous about what’s going to happen once Trump feels completely cornered.

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In the Courtroom

TPMers Allegra Kirkland and Josh Kovensky are in the courtroom in downtown Manhattan as we await word of Michael Cohen’s fate – which seems likely to be multiple years in prison. Here’s a primer on what’s coming.

The Flynn Mystery Prime Badge
The 2018 Golden Dukes Awards Nominees Are Here!

When it comes to scandals, 2018 was a doozy. Between the expansive Russia probe, the near-constant cabinet secretary snafus, and a wild midterm election, it’s hard to keep track of all the muck.

And so, as we do every year, we’ve rounded up some of the best instances of corruption, stupidity and craziness for the 12th Annual Golden Duke Awards!

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NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 13: Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's attorney, chats with friends near the Loews Regency hotel on Park Ave on April 13, 2018 in New York City. Following FBI raids on his home, office and hotel room, the Department of Justice announced that they are placing him under criminal investigation. (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)
Not To Be Missed

In case you missed it yesterday, I want you to see this deep dive on Ted Malloch, a guy who’s been hovering around the Russia scandal for more than a year and looks like he was probably a key link in the chain of communication between Wikileaks and the Trump campaign. If you’re a Prime member, here’s a companion piece on how his career has been sustained by the general non-enforcement of so many white collar crime laws.

A Great Way To Support Our Work

As we get past the midterm election and into the thick of the accelerating Mueller probe, I wanted to remind you: If you’re a dieheard TPM Reader and interested in a new way to support and be a part of TPM beyond the cost of a Prime membership, please consider joining TPM Inside. You can find out the details here. If you sign up for an annual membership before December 21st you become a Launch Member and have your subscription extended through the end of January 2020. Click here for the details and here to sign up.

A Taste of the Next Two Years

We’ve just finished a wild press availability with President Trump, Vice President Pence and Democratic leaders Pelosi and Schumer. This was clearly not something Trump was prepared for, as predictable as it was. There are a few takeaways. One is Schumer at the very end baiting Trump into defiantly insisting he’ll be “proud” to shut down the government. (“I am proud to shut down the government for border security, Chuck.”) Another is Pelosi, steel without bluster, formidable in any circumstance but particularly for Trump who couldn’t seem to find either weakness or escalation. He would switch over to Schumer for a break. My tweeted blurbs for some of the clips are a bit flippant. But each captures a revealing moment in the increasingly combustible exchange. Clips after the jump. Read More

The Carnage Continues

This following is from an SEC filing released today by Verizon regarding it’s “Oath” media business. That’s the unit which owns the assets of Yahoo, AOL and Huffington Post …

Verizon’s Media business, branded Oath, has experienced increased competitive and market pressures throughout 2018 that have resulted in lower than expected revenues and earnings. These pressures are expected to continue and have resulted in a loss of market positioning to our competitors in the digital advertising business. Oath has also achieved lower than expected benefits from the integration of the Yahoo Inc. and AOL Inc. businesses. Effective August 1, 2018, Hans Vestberg became Chief Executive Officer of Verizon, and effective October 1, 2018, K. Guru Gowrappan was appointed Chief Executive Officer of the Media business.

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Boom!

Maria Butina seems to have cut a plea deal. I’m sure folks at the NRA are terribly pleased.

Fast Times in User Land

Mike Pence’s Chief of Staff surprised everyone this weekend – none more than Donald Trump it seems – when he turned down Trump’s offer to succeed John Kelly as Trump’s third Chief of Staff. An overeager Trump couldn’t wait to announce Kelly’s departure this weekend and now he’s running through an increasingly desperate and comical list of potential chiefs of staff after Ayers turned him down. What happened here? Read More

Where Do They Find These Guys?

Josh Kovensky has the fascinating backstory on a third, lesser-known figure in the alleged Roger Stone-Jerome Corsi Wikileaks’ outreach effort during the summer and fall of 2016.

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