John Light

John is TPM‘s Prime editor. His writing has also appeared at The Atlantic, Mother Jones, Salon, Slate, UN Dispatch, Vox, Worth, and Al Jazeera, and has been broadcast on Public Radio International. Before joining TPM, John was a producer for Bill Moyers and WNYC, and worked as a news writer for Grist. He grew up in New Jersey, studied history and film at Oberlin College, and got his master‘s degree in journalism from Columbia University.

Articles by John

It is looking increasingly likely that we’ll get under-oath testimony from both Christine Blasey Ford and Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh about her allegations that he assaulted her during a high school party in the early 1980s. Blasey Ford’s attorneys are also maintaining their calls for a full investigation into her allegations, meaning we may end up with testimony from others who were there, such as Kavanaugh friend Mark Judge, or those who learned about the incident after it happened.

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“We have no power to commandeer an Executive Branch agency into conducting our due diligence,” Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley wrote in a letter, explaining why he couldn’t fulfill Christine Blasey Ford’s lawyer’s request for an FBI investigation into her claims.

That’s technically true, Tierney Sneed writes, but glosses over the leverage Senate Committees have in asking the White House to order FBI follow up investigations. “Grassley was among the more aggressive users of that privilege,” one source told her. Read her full analysis here (Prime access).

Conservative writer Mark Judge, a high school classmate of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh who allegedly witnessed the teenage Kavanaugh assault Christine Blasey Ford, sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee today through his lawyers. In the statement, he claimed “no memory of this alleged incident” and said he does not “wish to speak publicly regarding the incidents described in Dr. Ford’s letter.”

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Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford will appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday — a lifetime in Trump-era news cycles. Today, we’ll be trying to get a sense of how the GOP is thinking about these upcoming hearings. Here’s more on that, and other stories we’re following.

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President Trump appeared markedly restrained today when dealing with the sexual assault accusations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. His comments weren’t disinterested; instead, they seemed carefully scripted in a way that his responses to other crises in his administration — any number of developments in the Russia probe, for instance — have not been.

What to make of this?

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The allegations of sexual assault by Christine Blasey Ford, a psychology professor at Palo Alto University, against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh have an obvious historical parallel: sexual harassment accusations made by another professor, Anita Hill, against another Supreme Court nominee, Justice Clarence Thomas.

But the parallels run deeper than is obvious.

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Senate Democrats, including those up for reelection in red states, are demanding the GOP delay a vote on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, and, as more information emerges about the allegations and the accuser behind them, some Republicans seem to be gradually agreeing. Here’s more on that story, and others we’re following.

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Hello Primates, and welcome new subscribers. Going into this week we were prepared for wall-to-wall coverage of Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings with George Papadopolous’s sentencing hearing as a coda. Who would have predicted the drama inspired by Woodward’s book, and then the mysterious op-ed? Who can predict anything anymore?

Anyway, here’s what happened in Prime:

  • The judge in Paul Manafort’s Washington, D.C., trial had a few takeaways from his Virginia trial.
  • Josh Marshall has some thoughts on that op-ed.
  • When asked whether he believed widespread voter fraud was a problem, Brett Kavanaugh was strangely evasive.
  • The Chevron Doctrine came up a lot during Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings. It’s a far more important and interesting concept than its legalistic-sounding name might indicate.
  • We still don’t know how (or whether) Scott Pruitt justified his round-the-clock security detail.
  • A case is in federal court right now that could put Obamacare’s fate in the hands of the Supreme Court — one that will likely include a future Justice Kavanaugh.
  • The Atlanta Journal-Constitution did an analysis of poll closures in the state over the last five years and found that one third of Georgia’s counties have fewer precincts now than in 2012. The Secretary of State in charge of the decision to close these precincts is running for governor.
  • Josh Marshall pulled together some of his notes on George Papadopoulos’ sentencing memorandum.
  • Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke hired an outspoken critic of the Endangered Species Act as the department’s deputy assistant secretary for policy, management and budget.