Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

That story out of Alabama raises an important question. Once we have figured out just the scope of what Russia was doing in the 2016 election cycle (and going forward) we need to grapple with the fact that there are lots of entities offering and already providing these services to the highest bidder. The fact that Russia’s 2016 operation was mounted by a hostile foreign government coordinating with the beneficiary campaign is a huge, central issue. But it’s not the only issue.

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A very interesting snippet from yesterday’s traveling press pool …

Response to question on how the U.S. withdrawal from Syria will impact Israel:

Trump: “I don’t see it that way. I spoke with Bibi. I told Bibi, you know we give Israel 4.5 billion dollars a year. And they are doing very well at defending themselves.”
“We’ll always be there for Israel.”
“I’m the one that moved the embassy to Jerusalem. I was the one who was willing to do that”
“So that’s the way it is we are going to take great care of Israel. Israel is going to be good. We give Israel 4.5 billion a year. And we give frankly a lot more than that if you look at the books. They’ve been doing a good job.”

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Here’s a remarkable detail about the present government shutdown. The Department of Homeland Security prepared a “to whom it may concern” letter to employees to forward to their creditors. It essentially asks banks, credit card companies and any other creditors to take pity on their employees who can’t cover their debt obligations while they are not being paid. The letter concludes by thanking creditors “for your patience and compassion towards our employees during this time.”

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This is a good article on Trump’s ties to Russia. It’s not about collusion per se or really anything that happened during the 2016 election. It’s about the backstory, things that happened as far back as the 1990s. If you’ve read up on this subject, a lot will be familiar. But Michael Hirsch has added some new reporting about the backstory and the what congressional investigators who get started next month are going to be interested in. More than anything he does a good job of weaving together all the disparate elements of the story.

With Christmas and New Year’s upon us, I thought I would give some book recommendations. As always a few caveats and explanations about my criteria. I almost never read political books or any books about the contemporary world. I read history almost exclusively and usually at least a few centuries in the past. My criteria are deeply subjective. The books I recommend ones that held my attention to the end (most don’t), books I found engrossing and from which I learned new things. A number of the books below I’ve recommended before. Others are new.

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One of our longtime readers just decided to treat herself to TPM Inside. “I signed up for TPM Inside today. I wavered back and forth but I enjoyed the free preview so much, so it’s a Christmas present from me to me.” Great idea! A subscription to Inside gives you access to our weekly briefings, TPM events, the Inside Quarterly Report, Prime, Prime Ad-Free and more (full details here). Joining Inside is also a great way to support TPM’s independent journalism in the coming year. In fact, if you sign up before the end of the year you become a Launch Member and get an extra month of membership through January 31st, 2020.

Click here to sign up. And Merry Christmas.

A few readers asked whether the government shutdown might shut down the Special Counsel’s Office and whether this might even be one of the President Trump’s motivation. It turns out, no, it does not. The overwhelming majority of Justice Department officials remain on the job during a shutdown as “essential personnel”. That includes the Special Counsel’s Office, whose employees remain on the job.

Unsurprisingly, according to CNN, President Trump twice chewed out his Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker for not doing more to control prosecutors in the Manhattan US Attorney’s Office. This happened first when Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to lying to Congress at the end of November and then again a week later when prosecutors implicated President Trump in a number of felonies.

“Pointing to articles he said supported his position, Trump pressed Whitaker on why more wasn’t being done to control prosecutors in New York who brought the charges in the first place, suggesting they were going rogue.”

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You remember all the smoke about Jerry Falwell Jr for some inexplicable reason going into the divey, boozy youth hostel business with a young pool attendant in South Florida and the fact that Michael Cohen somehow also happened to have some kind of relationship with Falwell. At least one outlet has picked up this new article on the case by Aram Roston at Buzzfeed and claimed it says Michael Cohen brokered the deal. That’s definitely not what it says. Not close. But it certainly seems clear that Roston thinks that’s where this is going. And I bet he’s right.