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

Certain Republicans had high hopes for the Nunes memo before it landed Friday — after President Donald Trump cleared its release — with a dull-at-best thud.

CNN reported yesterday that Trump was hopeful the memo would undermine special counsel Robert Mueller and discredit the federal Russia investigation he is overseeing. Other members of his party predicted that its impact would be even greater, though now that the memo has been made public, it looks as if the White House official who worried to the press that the memo was a “dud” may have hit the nail on the head.

Here’s a look back at some of the lofty predictions Republicans have made over the last month about the memo’s import and impact.

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL)

“I believe the consequence of its release will be major changes in people currently working at the FBI and the Department of Justice,” Gaetz told Fox News in January.

In a separate appearance, he told Sean Hannity, “I think this will not end just with firings. I believe that there are people who will go to jail.”

“I think there will be criminal implications here,” Gaetz added.

Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC)

Duncan tweeted on Thursday that he expected the memo to “shake” the FBI “down to its core.”

“Having read ‘The Memo,’ the FBI is right to have ‘grave concerns,'” he posted.

Duncan predicted that the document would show “Americans just how the agency was weaponized by the Obama officials/DNC/HRC to target political adversaries.”

Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA)

“You think about, ‘is this happening in America or is this the KGB?’ That’s how alarming it is,” Perry told Fox News in January.

Rep. Steve King (R-IA)

Not one to avoid controversy, King claimed in January that the memo would kick off a scandal “worse than Watergate.”

“The sickening reality has set in,” King tweeted. “I no longer hold out hope there is an innocent explanation for the information the public has seen. I have long said it is worse than Watergate.”

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC)

“It’s troubling. It is shocking,” Meadows told Fox News last month. “Part of me wishes that I didn’t read it because I don’t want to believe that those kinds of things could be happening in this country that I call home and love so much.”

Later, in a tweet, he said, “This report needs to be released — now. Americans deserve the truth.”

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Good morning, and happy Friday. Today is quite possibly the day the Nunes memo will be released, and, as David Kurtz notes, the President kicked it off by fanning the flames of his ongoing battle with his DOJ. Here’s what our team is watching today.

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Good morning and happy February. Today could see the release of the Nunes memo. The House and Senate, meanwhile, are out until next week. Here’s what our team is watching.

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The State of the Union comes along with a deluge of coverage, takes and punditry, and attempting to digest it all can be an exercise in sipping water from a fire hose. With that in mind, here are some highlights from TPM’s coverage of last night’s speech.

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Good post-SOTU morning. The House and Senate are out until next week, and the Nunes memo continues to dominate the headlines. Here’s what our editors have their eyes on today.

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Alice Ollstein contributed reporting.

As he was leaving President Trump’s first State of the Union on Tuesday evening, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) said that the Congressional Black Caucus “took a knee nearly all night.”

“I think the best study in this thing is who didn’t stand,” he told TPM. “The Congressional Black Caucus took a knee nearly all night. When he spoke about our flag and honoring our flag, they took a knee. There were two or three of those spots along the way, they didn’t react to hardly anything. It was like ‘we are going to be the resistance.'”

This isn’t the first time that King has made charged comments about the Congressional Black Caucus. In 2014, he observed that there “is no ‘Congressional White Caucus'” and described the CBC as “a self-segregated caucus and it is a caucus that they drive an agenda that’s based on race. And they’re always looking to place the race card. They’re always looking to divide people down that line.”

He’s also come under fire for other racially charged remarks, including saying last year that “Hispanics and the blacks will be fighting each other before” outnumbering white Americans, and tweeting that the right-wing, anti-immigrant Dutch politician Geert Wilders “understands that culture and demographics are our destiny. We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies.”

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FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe is stepping down, effective immediately. He’ll be on “terminal leave” — on the agency’s payroll — until mid-March, when he’ll retire. Is McCabe’s departure unremarkable, “widely expected,” as The New York Times suggests? Or is this move a surprise, as CNN’s Steve Brusk tweets?

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As Tierney was combing through the House Intelligence Committee’s transcript of its interview with Glenn Simpson, she flagged a surprising quote. Responding to a question from Adam Schiff about why Fusion GPS thought Trump might be involved in money-laundering operations, Simpson replied that “criminals were buying the properties.”

“These are the kind of things that prompted us to hire Mr. Steele,” Simpson continued. “We had a gangster named Taiwanchik living in Trump Tower […] his associates were living in Trump Tower, and he was running a high-stakes gambling ring out of Trump Tower, while he himself was a fugitive for having rigged the skating competition at the Salt Lake Olympics and a bunch of other sporting events engaged in rigging.”

Wait. What?

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