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David Kurtz

David Kurtz is Managing Editor and Washington Bureau Chief of Talking Points Memo where he oversees the news operations of TPM and its sister sites.

Articles by David

A federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia –notably not in DC–has returned a new indictment against former Trump campaign aides Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, Special Counsel Robert Mueller announced in a court filing a short time ago.

The 32-count indictment is separate and apart from the pending case against the two men in federal court in Washington, D.C. Mueller told the DC court in the filing that the allegations in the indictment did not give rise to venue in DC and that the defendants had declined to waive venue, forcing Mueller to proceed in Virginia.

The new indictment alleges assorted financial misdeeds involving tax returns, bank fraud, and foreign banks and accounts.

I don’t know if Stoneman Douglas will be what finally breaks the NRA’s stranglehold on the Republican Party. History suggests not. If not Newtown, then what?

But I have slowly come around to the idea that when the stranglehold does finally break it will likely be fast and dramatic and far reaching.

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Watching the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre hold forth at CPAC–carried live on the news nets–is a good reminder that while it carefully crafts an image as a membership association of gun owners, the NRA is really a house organ of the Republican Party. What I’m saying isn’t new. The reporting documenting the NRA’s shift under LaPierre has been out there for years. But listen to his rhetoric. This isn’t about guns or gun rights.The Second Amendment argument, as anathema as it is to many people, is window dressing. It’s about using “guns” as a political cudgel, using “guns” to catalyze the resentments and grievances of conservatives, using “guns” as a bulwark against political threats to the Republican Party. Plain and simple.

There are some vague signs, inklings really, that today’s guilty plea by former Skadden Arps lawyer Alex van der Zwaan, the London-based Dutch son-in-law of Ukrainian-Russian billionaire German Khan, could be more significant than first appears. Emphasis on “could.”

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The other indictment from Special Counsel Robert Mueller today was also a surprise. A plea agreement had already been reached, and a plea entered in federal court in DC. That all happened earlier this week. Not a peep.

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