Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

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Let’s begin with a simple point. Senate Republicans left a Supreme Court seat vacant for more than a year for simple politics. Any argument that there’s a rush to fill Anthony Kennedy’s seat, on this view, is plainly ridiculous. But I confess I’m still taken aback by the mammoth bad faith and dishonesty of Republican Chairman Chuck Grassley’s argument in this new letter defending the majority’s conduct.

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As I wrote last night, it’s very clear Senate Republicans feel empowered by their current stance, telling Blasey Ford it’s on her if she doesn’t accept their terms for testimony. The claim that there’s no basis for an FBI review is false. If they want the FBI to review it they will. But they’re emboldened in their ‘take it or leave it’ stance.

Our team of Tierney Sneed and Caitlin MacNeal was in the courtroom through Paul Manafort’s Virginia trial and there right through the the announcement of his unexpected cooperation agreement in court in DC on Friday. Yesterday I talked to Tierney and Caitlin about the Virginia trial, the different players involved and the new cooperation agreement. You can hear the conversation here.

Through the Russia probe and various counter-probes, we’ve seen many cases where delays of various sorts have been interpreted as trying to cover for one side or the other. Such claims have been taken very seriously and even became central to the DOJ Inspector General’s report that made such a splash a few months ago. Now it turns out, according to ABC, that the the Steele Dossier sat in the FBI’s New York field office for weeks with no action. After arriving in New York in July, it didn’t make it to DC until September. It was supposedly sent to the “wrong person” and “took a long period of time for the New York field office to see it and realize what it was.”

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We’ve had a chaotic day of maneuvering in the Kavanaugh case. But with the end of the day, particularly events of the last hour, I think we have a clear view where the controversy stands.

After Professor Blasey Ford came forward and Sen. Flake said the Senate should not vote without “hearing from” Ford, Republicans quickly realized that they couldn’t move the nomination forward without some delay and communication, of whatever sort, with Professor Ford and Kavanaugh. After briefly trying to go for private phone interviews, they announced a hearing for next Monday in which Professor Ford and Judge Kavanaugh would be the only witnesses. But Senator Grassley apparently only conferred on this in advance with Kavanaugh. The idea seems to have been to present Ford with a fait accompli, with no preliminary investigation or additional witnesses.

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Lawyers for Professor Christine Blasey Ford have now sent a letter to Senator Grassley in which they say that “an FBI investigation of the incident should be the first step in addressing her allegation.” In other words, a period of fact-finding should precede any public hearing. Here’s the letter.