Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

As you likely saw this morning, Michael Cohen continues to edge up to the brink of becoming a cooperating witness against his erstwhile boss Donald Trump. What do we make of this?

It seems clear that Cohen is ready to make a deal and ready to testify against Trump. He’s saying as much. He’s also ending his joint defense agreement with the President, which often signals that one possible defendant is turning against another.

But two points stand out to me.

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We know that President Trump routinely lies about the “diversity lottery” program run by the United States, claiming that countries choose their least desirable, criminal elements and leeches and then send them to the United States where they are unvetted and sent into the civilian population. We also know that every attack President Trump levels is in fact a projection, a pretended offense which in fact matches some actual wrongdoing committed by him or a member of his family. So with all that, I just learned this morning that we’ve finally found a criminal immigrant who was booted from his home country and foisted on to America: Trump’s grandfather, Friedrich Trump.

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“Abolish ICE” is now taking flight as a Democratic rallying cry well beyond DSA and immigrants’ rights rallies. We have an on-going debate about “civility” among Democratic party activists and strategists. Through each of these developments and many others there is a recurrent refrain: If Democrats can’t avoid rhetorical excess and policy maximalism they’ll lose big time. There are even different flavors of the risk. Maybe it will just turn off Trump supporters. Maybe it will turn off moderate Democrats. You can’t win the Midwest with a platform that wins in the Bronx, etc. etc. etc. Any Democrat basically knows this conversation like mother’s milk. In The Washington Post, the headline of a column by a Never-Trump conservative reads “Outrage works for Trump. If Democrats abandon civility, it will backfire.”

Are Democrats really caught in this cosmic no-win situation?

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I’d missed this. This is from a press conference at the G-7 Summit in Charlevoix, Canada. He seems to argue that Russia has done a kind of gut renovation in Crimea. Sort of like a hotel refurb …

Well, you know, you have to ask President Obama, because he was the one that let Crimea get away. That was during his administration. And he was the one that let Russia go and spend a lot of money on Crimea, because they’ve spent a lot of money on rebuilding it. I guess they have their submarine port there and such. But Crimea was let go during the Obama administration. And, you know, Obama can say all he wants, but he allowed Russia to take Crimea. I may have had a much different attitude. So you’d really have to ask that question to President Obama — you know, why did he do that; why did he do that. But with that being said, it’s been done a long time.

In the digital publishing world, there’s been a buzz about this article in Slate in which slate staffer Will Oremus detailed the impact on the publication of Facebook’s dramatic retreat from the news business. The numbers are stark but not surprising for people in the industry. Indeed, Oremus makes the point that most news organizations are not willing to release these numbers. (We’ll come back to that point in a moment.) In January 2017 Slate had 28.33 million referrals from Facebook to Slate. By last month that number had dropped to 3.63 million. In other words, a near total collapse.

One of the benefits of being a small, independent news outlet that I run is that I’m happy to share these numbers. And I don’t need to ask anyone’s permission.

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President Trump on trade, Crimea and NATO, per the pool report from Air Force One.

On WTO: “We’ve been treated very badly by the WTO…it’s a very, very unfair situation. When you look at the WTO, that’s where China emerged, when they joined the WTO. We have been treated very badly. We have lost many, many cases over the years…we’ve had minority judges..we’ve had a minority position in judges. WTO has to start treating the United States fairly because they have not treated us fairly.”

“I’m not talking about pulling out. I’m saying they haven’t treated us fairly. We have not been treated fairly.”

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We’re far past the point where it matters whether President Trump is a ignorant and destructive fool or operates as some sort of agent of the Russian Federation. The upshot appears to be the same. The Washington Post reports that President Trump has tasked the Pentagon with analyzing withdrawing US troops from Germany. Quoting the nominal explanation the Post was given: “Trump was said to have been taken aback by the size of the U.S. presence, which includes about 35,000 active-duty troops, and complained that other countries were not contributing fairly to joint security or paying enough to NATO.”

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I have a whole backlog of posts to share with you – how to subpoena the President’s tax returns, the terribly run company Facebook and its impact on the news industry and a few other things. But my day hasn’t gone precisely as I’d planned. So more soon.

The Times has a fascinating article tonight on the Trump White House’s courtship of Justice Anthony Kennedy, building a relationship and rapport to make Kennedy comfortable retiring on Trump’s watch and ahead of the 2018 midterm election. One particular detail grabbed my attention: Justice Kennedy’s son Justin was the global head of real estate capital markets at Deutsche Bank and a key lifeline of capital to President Donald Trump.

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