Johnlight_profile

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

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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Did Vladimir Putin give Trump the Trump Tower cover story? (TPM Illustration. Photo by Getty Images)

Hello Prime subscribers, and welcome to the weekend. Here’s your look back at what happened in Prime this week.

  • Did Vladimir Putin help Trump plan a cover story for the Trump Tower meeting during last year’s G20? It’s “pretty likely,” writes Josh Marshall. In a second post, Josh notes that the President insisted on personally dictating the cover story, making aides uneasy.
  • In his Weekly Primer on Trump Swamp, Matt Shuham runs down EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s latest laundry list of scandals — dry cleaning, used mattresses and all.
  • TPM chronicled former Rep. Curt Weldon’s fall from grace in the late 2000s. Now he’s a character in the Trump-Russia story, Josh writes.
  • In California’s primaries on Tuesday, Democrats successfully elected a candidate in each key district — something that was not a given under California’s top-two primary system. This is particularly important given that national poll numbers on Democrats’ chances of retaking the House are quite close, Cameron Joseph writes.
  • Paul Manafort might go to jail next week. Tierney Sneed lays out what to expect from his bail hearing.
  • Michael Cohen’s lawyers claimed last month that the government had seized “thousands, if not millions” of privileged communications. But as Cohen is reviewing files, he’s only flagging a handful as privileged, Allegra Kirkland writes.
  • Josh wants to know what the deal is with George Papadopoulos’s wife.
  • Republican voters believe Trump’s voter fraud claims, even though they’re not true, Tierney Sneed writes in our Weekly Primer on voting rights. In another post, Tierney writes that, even though Trump claims “thousands” voted illegally in New Hampshire, the state Attorney General’s office only found 5.
  • Anti-voter fraud crusader Kris Kobach appeared in a parade riding in a Jeep that that was mounted with an (apparently fake) machine gun. Zack Roth has some thoughts on why voting restrictionists tend to show up places with guns.
  • The Trump administration may be trying to chip away at the Affordable Care Act, but states just keep building it back up, Alice Ollstein writes in her Weekly Primer on Obamacare. The latest state move came this week when Virginia expanded Medicaid.
  • In her Weekly Primer on the Russia probe, Allegra Kirkland looks at the first victim of the Trump adminsitration’s war on leakers, who gave information to the press about Carter Page.

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