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Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

I updated you last night on the latest Parnas document dump. They are hard to make sense of – particularly the new information about apparent surveillance of Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch. So now that I have a better understanding of the details I wanted to walk you through them. They’re important.

On the first round we got those WhatsApp text messages from Robert Hyde to Lev Parnas, apparently passing on updates about surveillance he was running on Yovanovitch. We later learned that Hyde has a history of erratic behavior and was actually involuntarily committed to a psychiatric facility a month or so after the texts were sent. So we had to consider the possibility that these claims were simply made up, wildly embellished or even the product of delusions.

Last night’s document dump makes clear that there was at least some truth to the claim Ambassador Yovanovitch was being surveilled by some group of feral Trumpers.

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The House released a bundle of new Parnas documents this evening. I’ve been working my way through them at home. The most interesting to me are copies of exchanges between Robert Hyde — the landscaper from Connecticut — and an unidentified man in Belgium, or at least texting from a Belgian country code cell number.

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President Trump’s decision to put Ken Starr, Alan Dershowitz and Robert Ray on his impeachment defense team is a good illustration of Trump’s mindset and strategy and the very different approach of Mitch McConnell.

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There’s an interesting catch here from Marcy Wheeler. I’m not sure I entirely agree with her on what it means. But I think she’s on to something. It has to do with Lev Parnas’ explanation of his efforts to get U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch fired. It’s a bit in the weeds but a pretty big deal.

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There’s a lot of big new information in the various documents given to Congress by Lev Parnas. His interview with Rachel Maddow is a little fuzzier. There’s at least a lot there that seems spun to the hopes of his current audience, which is largely people opposed to Donald Trump. This is hardly surprising. Parnas appears to be a conman, basically. He’s trying to save himself. So we should be cautious about any claims not backed by corroborating evidence, of which there is quite a lot. But here’s one passage worth watching in the second part of his interview that aired tonight on Maddow’s show.

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Lev Parnas is apparently going to appear on Maddow tonight. So we’ll hear a bit more about him and how he’s presenting himself. Maybe he’ll break substantive new news. One fascinating question though is just what his angle is in all this.

You’re probably saying, “well to stay out of jail obviously!” And yes, 100%. He’s definitely trying to save himself. But just how isn’t completely clear, at least not to me. Let’s walk through this.

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I’m trying to get a handle on this question myself. But the big question from last night’s Parnas documents is just what the story is with Robert Hyde, landscaper, absolute biggest Donald Trump fan ever and longshot candidate for Congress who had already been disowned by much of the Connecticut GOP back in December. Was he really involved with surveilling and perhaps considering harming the US Ambassador to Ukraine or is he all talk or perhaps literally crazy? Here’s Josh Kovensky’s write up of what we know so far.

It seems like a stretch to think Hyde’s claims were totally made up. But a month or so after the text exchanges in question Hyde was taken into custody at Trump’s Doral resort in Florida and apparently involuntarily committed for roughly a week to a psychiatric facility after telling police he feared someone was trying to assassinate him.

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Let me share some very preliminary thoughts on the documents and text messages released by the House Intelligence committee from Lev Parnas.

I stress preliminary. I’ve gone through them once. In Josh Kovensky‘s and Matt Shuham’s write up they caught a number of references, the import of which wasn’t clear to me until I understood the full context.

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