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Trump’s Plaything Prime Badge

“Watching what Trump has been able to do to our city just in the last few days makes me truly terrified about what the next six months could bring. We know how he reacts when he feels disrespected and powerless; will the District bear the brunt of his rage and need for dominance?” TPM Reader AL checks in from the District of Columbia …
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Where Things Stand: Why Is Rand Paul Opposing An Anti-Lynching Bill? Prime Badge
This is your TPM early-afternoon briefing.
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 12: U.S. Senator Rand Paul L (R-KY) listens to testimony during the Senate Committee for Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions hearing to examine COVID-19 and Safely Getting Back to Work and Back to School on Tuesday, May 12, 2020. (Photo by Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)

There’s a lot to keep up with today, but I want to point you to this Politico writeup about the anti-lynching bill that was debated on the Senate floor yesterday.

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On Troop Movements in DC And the Rush for Trump Loyalty Prime Badge

Before we get too far into the day I want to review information that has come out about the situation in Washington, DC and the President’s attempt to militarize the city in response to protests near the White House. As I noted last night, all the National Guard troops in the city or en route appear to be from states with Republican governors: They come from Utah, South Carolina, Tennessee, Missouri and Florida. What we learned yesterday is that the administration had been refused troops by governors in New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Virginia.
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Ominous Troop Movements Prime Badge

There’s a lot of troubling but clarifying information coming out tonight about the military deployments in Washington, DC. Reporting from the Times suggests what has seemed apparent by inference, which is that the White House and the Pentagon have spent recent days in a tug of war over the deployment of regular Army combat forces into DC. The Pentagon has resisted but President Trump has insisted, apparently wanting to keep them at least just outside the city as an ongoing sign of strength. This afternoon he appeared to finally relent and agree to allow them to return to their home bases.

There’s another dynamic I’ve noticed that has gotten little explicit attention.

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Heightening the Trumpian Contradictions Prime Badge

One of the essential features of Trump and Trumpism is the way he has – both in his person and his movement ideology – managed to bring all the contradictions and controversies in our society furiously to a head. In a matter of days not weeks we have managed to skip from the intricacies of a public health crisis to racism and police violence to the state cornerstone of civilian-military relations and the rather essential question of whether the President is threatening some sort of distended military rule.

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Where Things Stand: McConnell’s Weak Jab Prime Badge
This is your TPM early-afternoon briefing.

The Senate majority leader rarely straightens his spine to break with President Trump. And when he does, you can always expect push back about as stiff as a wet noodle.

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Running for Cover Prime Badge

As I’ve said, living in history is about not knowing the future. We are in a very volatile, unpredictable, dangerous moment in the history of this administration and indeed the history of the country itself. The stunt in front of the White House on Monday is not wearing well. It has the feel of one of those gambits employed by an embattled strongman which does both too little and too much, exposes weakness while galvanizing opponents. In the brittle late 20th century states of Africa and Latin America these moments would rapidly force a decision to massacre demonstrators or start lining up a flight to the French Riviera or exile in Saudi.

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Where Things Stand: Voters Speak On Injustice Prime Badge
This is your TPM early-afternoon briefing.
BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA, UNITED STATES - 2020/06/02: "I Voted! Did you?" Stickers for voters at City Hall during Indiana Primary Election Day.Primary Elections take place in Bloomington, Indiana after polls closed at Grandview Elementary School on Indiana Primary Election Day, June 2, 2020. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Protesters weren’t the only people demanding justice last night.

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Farce, Tragedy and Photo Op Prime Badge

As much as anything else, the spectacle yesterday afternoon in front of the White House was a deliberate set-up. It’s a not-unknown stock in trade for bad actors to invite press to one kind of purported event and switch to something more ghastly on camera, forcing the press to become complicit in what unfolds.

Yesterday was a version of that.

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Desperation Time Prime Badge
TPM Reader EC ponders the real meaning of Trump’s retaliatory executive order against Twitter:

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Some Questions About The Flynn ‘Unmasking’ Prime Badge
What to do when you really, really need a narrative.
Interesting Backstory On Flynn Case Prime Badge

The retired judge appointed to be friend of the court in the Mike Flynn case has already been on the record publicly expressing concern about the circumstances of the Justice Department’s unprecedented reversal.

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That Did NOT Go Well For the House Prime Badge

We’ll have more coming soon that takes up the points TPM Reader SS raises here about the oral arguments in the Mazars/Deutsche Bank cases:

I found the livestream of the arguments fascinating.  I also found, somewhat disturbingly, that none of the commentators/blogs/websites that I follow (all of a liberal bent, so to speak) seemed to speak to what I thought was the main weakness of Congress’ case.  (Note: while I’m not a practicing lawyer, I was, at one point, a member of the DC Bar).
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Where Things Stand: When A Pandemic And A Primary Collide Prime Badge
This is your TPM mid-morning briefing.

The show will go on for least three of the four states originally scheduled to hold primary elections tonight, with the Ohio Supreme Court on Tuesday morning ruling in favor of closing polls amid the coronavirus outbreak.

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Where Things Stand: The ‘Southern White House’ Ablution Prime Badge
This is your TPM early-afternoon briefing.

While it’s not quite 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, this is still a big deal.

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Where Things Stand: The Sycophancy Continues Prime Badge
This is your TPM early afternoon briefing.

Members of the White House’s Coronavirus Task Force are increasingly adopting a new default when they don’t have a satisfying answer to inquiries about COVID-19: Awkwardly pivot to praise President Trump.

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