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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

In a speech to the National Federation of Independent Businesses, a conservative lobbying organization, today, President Donald Trump gave his assessment of the forces that have contributed to the current border crisis. By his estimation, here’s who is responsible.

Democrats in Congress, who are excited to win the MS-13 vote

“Democrats love open borders. Let the whole world come in. Let the whole world. MS-13 gang members from all over the place, come on in — we have open borders. And they view that possibly intelligently, except that it’s destroying our country. They view that as potential voters. Someday they’re going to vote for Democrats.”

The fake news media, which hopes to distract from congressional hearings on the Department of Justice Inspector General’s probe

“The fake news media back there doesn’t talk about that. (Laughter and applause.) They’re fake. They are helping — they are helping these smugglers and these traffickers like nobody would believe. They know it. They know exactly what they’re doing and it should be stopped — because what’s going on is very unfair to the people of our country. And they violate the law. People that come in violate the law. They endanger their children in the process. And frankly, they endanger all of our children. And you ought to see the hearings that are right now on television but that folks are being — you know, they’re going on to the mainstream, fake news media. They want to focus on immigration because they want to keep the cameras away from the hearings because those hearings are not good for them.”

Presidents Obama, Bush, and Clinton, who were helpless in the face of partisanship

“Whether it was President Bush, President Obama, President Clinton — same policies. They can’t get them changed because both sides are always fighting.”

Mexico, which is not sending its best

“They come up through Mexico. Mexico does nothing for us. You hear it here: They do nothing for us. They could stop it. They have very, very strong laws. Try staying in Mexico for a couple of days. See how long that lasts. Okay?”

Corrupt immigration judges, who are on the take

“They said, ‘Sir, we’d like to hire about five or six-thousand more judges.’ Five or six-thousand? Now, can you imagine the graft that must take place? You’re all small business owners, so I know you can imagine a thing like that would happen. But here’s a guy — they say, ‘Could you please be a judge? Come on, get it.’ They line up to be a judge. It’s horrible.”

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Happy weekend, Prime subscribers! Here’s what happened in Prime this week.

  • On Thursday, before the Department of Justice’s Inspect General’s report was released, I wrote that we were hoping for som insight on whether the FBI’s New York office was leaking to Rudy Giuliani. Turns out, the report didn’t go there. But it did confirm that the New York office hated Clinton.
  • Despite Trump’s attempt to spin the IG report, all of the conduct detailed in it helped his campaign and hurt Clinton’s. That fact was the North Star of our coverage of the report.
  • Donald Trump reportedly mused over dinner at the G-7 that the people of Crimea spoke Russian, and so it made perfect sense that Russia seized control of the region in 2014. By that logic, Kate Riga writes, we’re British now.
  • Paul Manafort went to jail. Allegra Kirkland has more info on that, and more, in her Weekly Primer on the Russia probe.
  • Matt Shuham has updated his list of nonsense EPA chief Scott Pruitt spent taxpayer money on.
  • Relatedly, there are sounds that Pruitt’s mountain of scandal has simply become too tall for his ideological allies to ignore, Matt writes in his Weekly Primer on Trump’s swamp.
  • This week looked to be a critical one for Michael Cohen, Josh Marshall wrote, with the President’s one-time personal lawyer shopping for a new legal team amidst rumors that he might cooperate. It looked as if Cohen’s stream of money from Trumpworld might be drying up, Josh wrote — potentially a major fact in his decision making.
  • Now, Josh writes, Cohen “seems to be trying to negotiate on two sides of the bargain – on the one hand asking for an offer from prosecutors but also signaling to his old boss that if Trump is going to throw Cohen a lifeline, he better do it now.”
  • Zack Roth writes on a gerrymandering reform ballot measure that could be killed by Michigan’s state Supreme Court: “It would be darkly ironic if an effort to fix one major democratic defect — partisan gerrymandering — ended up a casualty of another: the distorting influence of campaign money on judicial elections.”
  • Responding to a reader question, Cameron Joseph takes a look at how Democratic candidates are seeking to push back on Republicans’ race-baiting, Trump-style attacks in the 2018 midterms.
  • We learned this week that Russian support for Trump followed on what looks like a successful Russian effort to tip the scales on Brexit, Josh writes.
  • The Trump administration has announced that, “rather than defending the Affordable Care Act from a lawsuit by 20 GOP states, it will instead side with the states,” Alice Ollstein writes in our Weekly Primer on health care.
  • The Supreme Court’s Monday decision upholding Ohio’s voter-purge system means we can “expect more states to follow Ohio’s lead and put in place aggressive purge procedures,” Tierney Sneed writes in our Weekly Primer on voting rights.

Something we were hoping to get some insight on from today’s Department of Justice Inspector General’s report had to do with President Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.

We were (and remain) curious about whether a group of agents in the FBI’s New York office, which reportedly was a hotbed of Trump support, leaked information about the Clinton email investigation to Giuliani, who had close ties to the Trump campaign.

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Whatever the Department of Justice’s long-awaited Inspector General’s report says today, the administration and its allies will likely seize on it as vindication. President Trump has been laying the groundwork for that maneuver for weeks. It’s his 72nd birthday today, and, he said last week, the report will make “a nice birthday present.”

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Good morning. The big news today will be the Department of Justice’s Inspector General report on issues surrounding the 2016 election. Here’s more on that, and what else our team is watching.

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Days before the 2016 election, Rudy Giuliani appeared on Fox News and claimed he had known the FBI would be reviewing more Clinton emails before then-FBI Director James Comey, in his infamous letter, made that information public.

“I did nothing to get it out, I had no role in it,” Giuliani said. “Did I hear about it? You’re darn right I heard about it, and I can’t even repeat the language that I heard from the former FBI agents.”

Was Rudy telling the truth? We’ll likely find out tomorrow, when the Department of Justice Inspector General’s office releases its long-awaited report into the episode, as well as into several other allegations that the FBI or DOJ acted improperly.

As the late investigative reporter Wayne Barrett chronicled for the Daily Beast, Giuliani’s ties to the New York office of the FBI date back to the 1980s, when Giuliani was the U.S. attorney for Manhattan. And the office was no friend of Hillary Clinton; one source described the FBI to reporter Spencer Ackerman as “Trumpland.”

So it is entirely possible that the New York office was leaking, and that it was leaking to Giuliani. (We also won’t be surprised to learn that Giuliani was full of hot air.)

But there’s a second question on which we also hope to get some insight: Were the New York office’s leaks a factor in Comey’s decision to go public, and send Congress that letter saying that the agency had reopened its investigation? Or, perhaps, was Comey afraid of leaks from elsewhere in the Bureau? Did he assume he had to act because the information would come out either way?

We may learn the answers to those questions tomorrow. Look for our coverage of the IG report early in the afternoon.

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