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Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

And there it is, the other quid pro quo. Notorious Ukrainian oligarch Dmitry Firtash would help Rudy and DiGenova and Toensing cook up dirt on Joe Biden. In return, they’d work with Trump to get US corruption charges against Firtash tossed. Firtash has been fighting extradition to the US on federal corruption charges since 2014.

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When the Trump/Ukraine scandal broke, now almost a month ago, I said that the biggest revelation wasn’t that Trump would do these things or try to do these things but that he could do them and all of his top advisors would go along with it and even participate in whatever cover-ups were necessary to conceal. Don’t call me naive. One of the biggest takeaways from the Mueller Report was while Trump committed all sorts of obstructive acts, he was actually shut down at a number of points by top advisors. Either they yessed him and then ignored his demands. Or they refused and he relented. Or in some cases they threatened to resign. Usually Trump backed down. Trump usually didn’t have the guts to make the big moves himself. It was usually trying to get someone else to do it — usually some version of shutting down the investigation or firing Bob Mueller. Frequently, they refused.

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Aside from the national humiliation and breach of trust with allies, we have a remarkable development with President Trump’s sudden and still entirely unexplained decision to green-light a Turkish invasion of northeastern Syria. President Trump had already entered the greatest crisis of his presidency to date. And yet, a few tut-tuts and misgivings notwithstanding, Republicans remained reflexive in their support. President Trump chose this moment to drive a massive wedge between himself and the overwhelming majority of his own party. At a critical moment he chose to open a second front … against himself.

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Among many other things, in his just concluded remarks, White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney slightly shifted the White House explanation. He said one reason for the hold up of weapons aid to Ukraine was about the “corruption related to the DNC server.” This needs to be unpacked.

It is just a shard of information. But it is a reference to the Seth Rich/DNC Server conspiracy theory which holds the following …

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While it’s pretty obvious that President Trump is the one who flipped out in yesterday’s meeting in White House, it’s still true that every narrator will have their own point of view and own slant to their description. But Democrats in the meeting who have spoken to the press suggest that it was pressing Trump on “all roads lead to Putin” that pushed Trump over the edge. Here’s Pelosi’s explanation of what lead to the ‘meltdown’.

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New episode of The Josh Marshall Podcast is out. We discuss the latest Trump/Ukraine investigation developments and try to make sense of the Dems’ marathon twelve-person on one stage debate. Listen here or it should be on your device if you signed up.

According to CNN, the federal probe into Rudy Giuliani includes a counter-intelligence investigation. This news, if borne out, is a very big deal. It is also the least surprising thing in the world. As we noted earlier this week, Rudy has gone into business, literally and figuratively, with associates of the Russian election interference team from 2016. In some cases, they’re not associates but the same actual people. He wants their help to “prove” Russia and Trump were framed.

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Some closing thoughts.

First, I probably don’t have to tell you this, but a three hour debate with twelve people on the stage is a bad debate. More than exhausting it is not edifying or clarifying. There was a point early in the last half hour of the debate when the debate zeroed in on just Sanders, Biden, Warren and Buttigieg. Maybe not that exact four. A few others should be there. But that’s the debate we need.

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10:30 PM: Don’t miss our staff debate live blog here.

10:17 PM: I’m confused. Does Harris think she’s making a strong point here vis a vis Warren?

10:03 PM: I think Biden is doing better for himself in this debate than most people probably realize. But again, Warren just has a dynamism and command that isn’t matched by anyone else on the stage.

9:31 PM: A twelve person debate is an incoherent debate.

9:03 PM: I don’t know exactly how it will play politically or whether it will continue her rise in the polls. But Warren is simply operating at two or three times the speed and power of almost everyone else up on the stage. Sanders has receded far to the background of the debate. To a great degree, Biden has too. Biden’s answers have been clearer and crisper than in earlier debates. But he seems peripheral to the debate itself. Warren is setting the pace and everyone is reacting to her.

8:59 PM: Warren’s answer on being punitive or not was very good.

8:48 PM: I’m far from a supporter. But I think this debate could help Steyer. Clear, coherent, just very straightforward.

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